Wednesday, November 03, 2004

tired and emotional

This is just going to be a random collection of post-US-election ramblings, because I'm too bloody tired and emotional to attempt structuring my thoughts.

First up, the question that every right-thinking person should be asking: How the HELL did he do it again? How has Dubya managed to win by an even greater margin this time than he did in 2000? Granted, it's not hard to improve on a margin of zero. But he's won the popular vote this time, and that's what amazes me. And why? Was it over "security issues in the post-9/11 world"? In the days running up to the election, I saw a lot of Americans interviewed on television saying that while Bush made them cringe, they would still be voting for him because he was the best man to protect America from terrorists. .........Let's see, would those be the same terrorists who have been spurred into action by virtually every foreign policy move Bush has ever made, whether in Israel, Afghanistan or Iraq? The mind boggles.

I've been going over it in my mind, trying to find out where exactly Bush had the advantage over Kerry in the eyes of the voters. Political experience? No. Economic success? Hardly. Social policy? Foreign affairs? Don't make me laugh. But what about the elusive "common touch"? Ah, now there's a different story. Sadly, that's probably about the one thing that Bush has got over Kerry. He had it over Al Gore as well. The dashing Bill Clinton had it in spades, which leads me to think that the undecided women voters so key to winning US elections must be largely made up of horny housewives who end up voting for the candidate they have the bigger crush on. Ugh.

Back in London, there was also a strong groupie vibe surrounding the US election. I was down at the ICA near Trafalgar Square, watching the results come in live while raging debates took place in one corner of the bar and Martin Rowson captured the mood of the evening by drawing cartoons of bullets piercing Bush's skull. I say a groupie vibe because even though we arrived at 8.45, the place was so packed out that we had to queue until 10 just to get into the bar. The concept of being all dolled up and waiting for over an hour to watch election results on a giant screen in a noisy bar (punctuated by cheers whenever a state was called for Kerry) was a new one to me, but I'm glad I went. I'm also glad I left when I did, which was at 2am. At that time Kerry still seemed to have a chance of winning,a and I left on a high note. Whereas at 5.30am, when my other flatmates came back after having moved on from the ICA to (eek) the Hard Rock Cafe, which was also having an election shindig, they were quiet, depressed and deflated because Bush was heading for victory.

It's funny. Over the past few weeks I've been glumly resigned to a Bush win, but now that it's actually happened I can't quite believe it. Apparently Democrats voted based on the economy and the war in Iraq, whereas the issues that prompted Republicans to go to the ballot box were terrorism and "moral values". Christ. This is George W. Bush we're talking about, people! Morals do not enter the equation!

So there you have it, Bush is back and we're all going to hell in a handcart. Friends have been e-mailing me, saying "The Americans have really screwed themselves over this time," but the rest of the world will be affected just as much. I know that Americans (or anyone else, for that matter) shouldn't have to vote in accordance with what people from other countries want, but that doesn't change the fact that we're all going to DIE now, even sooner than we thought.


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