Saturday, November 06, 2004

Some thoughts in the aftermath of the presidential elections

So, finally the elections are over. I think it will be a relief for many people, whichever way they voted.

I almost felt a bit sorry for Kerry when when I was listening to him making his concession speach. He would probably have made a good president, and he is certainly closer to me ideologically. But he was also unclear and inconsistent when it came to foreign policy and Iraq. Bush was more convincing. There is a war going on, and it would probably be unwise to wish for change for change’s sake.

Pre-9/11 I would never have hoped for Bush to win. But times really have changed. And Bush has proved himself on this issue. He has shown that he is competent of taking the necessary measures which are needed to combat Islamofascist terrorism and that he understands how vital the process of democratizing the Middle East is. I hope, like Hitchens, that the small kernel of neocons are able to outweigh the loony religious Right-wing of the Republican Party and mould it into a more radically democratic and internationalist party.

And hopefully, Predisent Bush will also show more interest in trying to find a solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict than he has so far. Although, in all fairness, this is a very complicated issue with many people sharing an enormous responsibility. If Arafat dies there could be room for more moderate Palestinian voices to be heard, which would of course help the process a great deal.

What has really disturbed me throughout the run-up to the elections is the annoying simplification about America and Americans which has been coming from busy-bodies and know-it-alls. The so called liberal chatterati and the latte-Left voicing their support for Kerry and critisizing Bush as if he was some kind of vile dictator. It really is understandable that people like Tom Wolfe endorsed Bush out of spite (although it could be said to be arguable). I was reading an account of the absurdity of the total conformity among many middle-class liberals by a columnist whose name I’m afraid I don’t remember. He was saying that when he at a dinner voiced his support for Bush, he might just as well have said “Hi, I’m a child molester”. The reaction was, according to the columnist, that grim, which only goes to show how absurd and conformistic (on the verge of mass-hysteria at some times) the all-pervasive view of these pseudo-liberals really is. I too was getting increasingly tired of how it was ASSUMED that you were in favour for Kerry when talking to colleagues or acquaintances.
Look, Bush did NOT get support only from the moral-conservative religious Right. And I refuse to think that my own position is THAT uncommon – being a liberal of somekind, or centrist/centre-left, and yet still hoping for a muscular foreign policy and a spirit of democratic internationalism. Rather, this should be part of a liberal (in its most broadest sense) world-view.

Last week I was also astonished at hearing colleagues at work talking about Americans as if they were a lower form of life and of the derogatory talk of America in general. “In many ways America is an underdeveloped country”, one of my colleagues sputtered. They were talking of America as if it existed ONLY of hillbillies, white trash and racist Texans; and that Americans are a priori ignorant of the rest of the worl. Yes, there are uneducated and uninterested people in the USA. But how would we react if Americans started to slander “Europeans”? Europe is a big place, with many different peoples and cultures. America is a big place, a continent which of course carries a plethora of different cultures and mind-frames within its vast geographical and cultural space. Singling out just ONE way of thinking and then projecting it onto a whole continent is pure racism. Imagine what the reaction would be like if I were to talk of Germans as being belligarant or Muslism as being only terrorist, or Jews being the root of all evil in the world. There would quite rightly be an outrage (at least I hope there would be. These days you can never be too sure.). But this is EXACTLY the kind of jargong we can read in the press and here in our cantines at work everyday. Because somehow, America is now a “legitimate target”. Why? Because “America went to war”. Well, let me remind you: it was America who was attacked on 11th of September 2001. America did not attack anyone else first. President Bush has contributed to liberating 50 million Muslims from tyranny, crushed the mediaeval Taliban rule in Afghanistan and enabled its inhabitants to take part in free and democratic elections. For this he is spat upon by self-righteous “radicals”. Concidering what is taking place in the world today, it would be more apt to direct anger towards Islamofascist thugs and homicidal-bombers blowing up innocent civilians on a almost a daily basis.


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