Friday, 29 October 2004

"Say the right things when electioneering...."

I have been completely mesmerised by the US Election.



I’d be the first to admit that I don’t understand the intricacies of the American political system, with all its checks and balances, senators, governors (or indeed governators), congressmen, District Attorneys, Mayors etc. etc…. but there is something beguilingly simple about the concept of the nation choosing between two people to decide who gets to be president for the next four years.



This time of course, there is extra spice brought about by the fact that we all know that last time this all came down to a few hundred votes in a single state. You could scarcely have a more potent illustration of the power and importance of every single vote. As a result millions of people are flocking to register themselves on the electoral roll – the polls already show it to be close, but these new voters could make all the difference one way or another.



The coverage that we get in the UK tends to have something of a liberal bias – George Bush is widely and routinely portrayed as some kind of incompetent half-wit. I think it’s fair to say that the majority of people over here have no understanding of how this man got elected in the first place, never mind that fact that he is standing again and has a very real chance of a second term (see the Guardian’s recent emails to the undecided voters of Clark County, and the angry response of the rather patronised and insulted residents and subsequent backtracking)



John Kerry is generally portrayed more sympathetically, but it dawned on me the other day that I actually know very little about any of his actual policies (other than that he is thought to be more pro-Europe than Bush, and that his stance on the war is different, but that he wouldn’t be pulling the troops out any time soon).



In fact, the UK coverage of the US election is rooted firmly in the electoral process and the candidates themselves rather than on the issues. We see discussions about the debates, and who came out on top, but we don’t hear about any of the issues. Usually we get to see footage of a lot of political rallies, with one candidate or another appearing with some celebrity or another… yesterday it was Kerry and Springsteen, and today it is Dubbya and Arnold…. Basically we just marvel at the amount of money being spent.



I have also been spending a good deal of time surfing around other blogs (using Blog Explosion) and there are a hell of a lot of political bloggers out there at the moment. This election is certainly raising a lot of passion, both inside and outside of the USA.



One thing I can say for sure, is that I don’t envy you the choice. There is no way on this wide world that I would vote for George W. Bush – so I guess that would make me a Kerry voter. Isn’t he just a lump of wood though? It’s all very impressive that he served in Vietnam AND can show a picture of himself campaigning for peace with John Lennon, but I just can’t escape from the fact that he married into money not just once, but twice… and can man from this background really claim to be representing the whole nation (although that can probably be said about any political candidate ever)/



I know that Britain has a strange and fairly incomprehensible electoral process, and that we don’t exactly have MUCH choice, but for the election of the “leader of the free world” this is all a bit depressing.



… and I’ll watch it all with bated breath.



Bartlett for America!



----

I will stop, I will stop at nothing.

Say the right things when electioneering

I trust I can rely on your vote.



When I go forwards you go backwards

and somewhere we will meet.

When I go forwards you go backwards

and somewhere we will meet.

Ha ha ha



Riot shields, voodoo economics,

it's just business, cattle prods and the I.M.F.

I trust I can rely on your vote.



When I go forwards you go backwards

and somewhere we will meet.

When I go forwards you go backwards

and somewhere we will meet.



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