They say you can never go Home...

Soldiers of Sparta were allowed to return home after lost battles, only if carried dead upon their shields. I'm convinced this is a more practical and time-saving way to go about it.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

This Election

I’m not quite sure to say about all of this election business.

So the US has spoken, and the winning majority has indicated that four more years with the current president is okay by them.

America has its beginnings in idealism, religious zealotry, rebellious individualism, pioneering spunk and courage, and economic lassiez-faire. It has contributed to our livelihood; it has contributed to our downfall. Perhaps this is all part of a theme, or a psychosocial character profile of Americans; one that has not diluted so much over the course of many subsequent generations, and one that influences the politics of current.

But then again, we seem to be a melting pot, and not so segregated so as to preserve these ancestral qualities in-situ. Yet our coasts are evidently experiencing very different things in comparison to the Midwest. So maybe the present (and historical) predilection for moral extremes in the US cannot explain the divide that is reflected in the bitter controversy surrounding the election, surrounding the war, surrounding the economy, surrounding the environment, and on and on, und so weiter, ad infinitum ad nauseum, etc.

So then, is it a lack of intelligence? As tempting as it might be for me, or anyone else, to write off an entire half of a country (or perhaps an ENTIRE country) as being irredeemably stupid, I suspect it might be inaccurate. I might, due to my piss-and-vinegar nature, and unabashedly elitist affect, try to write such an excoriating piece. But alas, I’m just not as creative and humerous as some other people, who have better writing styles than I (high compliments go to those to whom those links correspond; I admire you tremendously) to attempt to do so.

I wish to say that, aside from moral reasons, or intelligence, or the economy being the determinant for one presidential candidate over another, I suspect that Fear had a lot more to do with the actual Win. Which makes sense to me. After all, fear is, and ever shall be, the human instinct that seems the most powerful determinant over the outcome of human decisions. Human lives are disguised as complexity, built upon a chassis of Fear; it seems inherent in our nature. Ironically enough, Fear seems to be one of the most easily influenced and manipulated.

What are Americans afraid of, generally, and why?

Are we afraid of same sex marriage? Are we just afraid of the power of the word “marriage”? Or by giving up the post-modern essence of the word, are we afraid of societal change beyond our control? Does this, in fact, follow?

Are we afraid of losing our ability to achieve the American Dream?

Are we afraid of not having enough to eat? Is that why we are among the world's most overweight?

Are we afraid that Terrorists can change the US so dramatically, that our Number One Priority must be eradication; over education, over hunger---over consensus? Are we that enlightened, that powerful, that we can afford to re-write the book on Fighting Terrorism without the tutelage and support of our older fellow countries?

Are we afraid of losing our identity, or individuality, even if it is hopelessly tied to status, or recklessness, or irresponsible excess (such as owning a HumVEE)? Why?

Granted, I realize it might be arrogant to assume that anyone outside of the US gives a damn about our election. What I’m not sure about on the other hand, is whether it is ALSO arrogant presumption to assume everyone else in the World has a well-defined, strong opinion of the US. The American media has a lot to do with the provenance of this strongly-held opinion, whether it is misguided or not. So forgive us in advance.

I'm trying a new technique that I learned from my new good friend Susannah Whelan (thanks Susannah!). I'm doing what they do on the Capitol: I'm eliciting others for some authentic feedback.

It seems to me that many Americans want to talk about things at the moment. Sometimes, that impulse seems to take the form of chastisement, of denial, of doomsday, of outright petulant bravado. I believe this is progress, nevertheless. I suspect the younger set are becoming concerned with how our image reflects in the world community, in light of decisions that are perceived as taking us away from solidarity with the rest of our neighbors (namely, the Kyoto initiative, the record of making decisions with N.A.T.O, etc.). And they’re concerned about our safety and our livelihood, too, which is a new experience for us.

People, the arctic circle is melting, and the world sometimes seems like it’s going to hell in a handbasket. All the infighting and dramatic crap like this isn’t helping much.

We need some clarity. We need some solutions. We need some insight.

And my blog desperately needs a breath of fresh air.

My 1 dollar attempt at doing something productive is to have anyone--Americans, expats, Europeans, Australians, Panasians, Eurasians, South Americans or some combination therein--give their opinion on the state of the US, both internally and externally, by writing their thoughts and opinions, to be shared on this pitiful blog. I would love to hear from anyone who is interested in extolling, or cautioning against, the virtues of a more socialized, a more peaceful, or more truculent, a more independent, or more cooperative, United States.

Come on, please don’t make be actively search you out and beg you to write something.