Our place in the world

I’ve said before that when Bush was elected to his second term, I almost couldn’t bring myself to move back to the States from overseas.  Living in S Korea at the time, my girlfriend bought me a t-shirt which read, on the front, “Official American Apology T-shirt,” and, on the back, “I’m sorry my President is an idiot.  I didn’t vote for him.”  It was written in about six languages.  Now that I’m down here in Alabama, the only one who wears it is my daughter, to sleep in.  Telling people here that I’m a Democrat is scary enough.  Wearing that shirt might get me kicked out of the PTA (!).

The goal of that shirt, of course, was to let anyone and everyone overseas know that I understood.  I understood that the people back home were under some sort of mass delusion.  Stupid had apparently been put into the water system in every city and town.  It was the only conclusion I could draw.  How does this country elect that man … twice?

In this election, Bush might as well be on the ticket again.  We have, in John McCain, a politician who would run rough shod over the world just as Bush has done.  And the world knows it.  Jonathan Freedland had a piece about just this in The Guardian on Sept. 10.  I encourage you to read the whole thing, but here is the part you need to read for my purpose:

Until now, anti-Americanism has been exaggerated and much misunderstood: outside a leftist hardcore, it has mostly been anti-Bushism, opposition to this specific administration. But if McCain wins in November, that might well change. Suddenly Europeans and others will conclude that their dispute is with not only one ruling clique, but Americans themselves. For it will have been the American people, not the politicians, who will have passed up a once-in-a-generation chance for a fresh start – a fresh start the world is yearning for.

Freedland goes on to say:

For America to make a decision as grave as this one – while the planet boils and with the US fighting two wars – on the trivial basis that a hockey mom is likable and seems down to earth, would be to convey a lack of seriousness, a fleeing from reality, that does indeed suggest a nation in, to quote Weisberg, “historical decline”. Let’s not forget, McCain’s campaign manager boasts that this election is “not about the issues.”

It’s not only domestic and foreign policy issues at stake here, it’s our very soul.

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