I can't avoid it any longer, I have, for the sake of international politeness and Irish/American detante, not made mention of the imminent exercise of electoral manumission in USia. However I have just watched the news and the pointless strutting and posturing that is being beamed onto every TV in the world has incensed me and I am monumentally fucked off with the whole thing.
Now I make no bones about my total disrespect for politicians and for the political process. If you follow my twitter stream you will have no doubt seen my description of the legacy of Pericles thus :-
If Politics is shite then politicians are the very thin toilet paper through which your fingers are prone to slip
@duffbert thought this was "Ewwwwww...." and @andreaw_m "YUCK!" and whilst @BillMalchisky thought the metaphor somewhat earthy, he then posited that ".. the purchase of a better quality paper would avoid the experience". Hmmm I am not sure about the purchasing of a new and better legislative assembly. Isnt that what we in the free world have already? For what are lobbyists if not the political machine's purchasing department?
USia is when it comes down to it, a two party system. Fair enuff. In the rest of the world where there are 2,3,or 4 party systems a stranger can ask "Which is which?" and you will probably be told that Party A is the "Right Wing" and favours big business, small government, the free market and trickle down economics. Party B is the Left and favours the working man (or woman), has it's big hairy nose into every facet of life and pushes a more regulated economy with a more structured distribution of wealth. Party C is in the centre and they really don't have policies they just want what YOU, the people want.
This is nice and simple and gives the stranger a grasp of what sort of political system the country operates under. However USia suffers from an advanced and debilitating phobia. It cannot,as a nation bring itself to say the word "socialist" without depositing a healthy gob in the nearest spittoon. As a result of this debilitating affliction American politics has had to evolve in a different direction. There are two parties which in the rest of the world would be a Left and Right but in USia there is the "Definitly-not-left-no-siree-we-are-very-right-but-not-right-enough-to-be-nasty" party and the "Not-as-right-as-them-but-hey-we-are-not-socailists-you-hear-defin-fecking-tootly-not-socialist" party.
AS far as I can see these two parties comprise of very very rich people who have meetings and take lots of $'s from other very very rich people and manage their affairs so that over the last 50 years the status quo has remained the same. There was a fairly recent rally at which McCain compared Obama to a European Socialist Leader.The BBC found a "talking head" (who must have been totally unaware that the BBC was a European company) who went somewhat further by saying "A vote for Obama was a vote for America taking the first steps towards a socialist tyranny like they have in Europe."
[sarcasm]Oh woe is me! Living in this despotic hell , this arbitrarily oppressive purgatory run by socialist deamons ready to strip me of my things and feed me piecemeal to the plebs OH America save me from this curse! [/sarcasm]
That took me a little by suprise as the only tyrannical sort of behaviour I have come across recently was the TSA in Newark Airport who indeed brought to me a new understanding of the phrase "abitaryly oppressive despot".
So lets alienate all my USian "Definitly-not-left-no-siree-we-are-very-right-but-not-right-enough-to-be-nasty" party readership. Ms Palin or as I prefer to call her "The Anti-Strumpet" would appear to have eclipsed any grey haired gravitas that Mr McCain has brought to the proceedings. Worries about her underwear budget and whether her knicker gussets have been federally funded have rocked not only America but the rest of the world and the fact that contrary to good non-socialist policy she appears NOT TO HAVE GONE TO SPECSAVERS preferring the Dolci and Gabbana Joe Ninety/Chairman Mao look! That being said for my office party I am going to get my hair Palin'ed Never let it be said that I am not at one with the Throb and Ebb of modern fashion!
Still on the "Definitly-not-left-no-siree-we-are-very-right-but-not-right-enough-to-be-nasty" side. Has no one thought to ask OK you have had 8 years - what have you done? The government is exactly the same size, (**Update** Bob tells me it is bigger) the tax burden on the population is pretty much the same as it always is (**Update** Bob tells me it is bigger) your have allowed the economy to get fucked on a global scale, china now near as damn it owns the country, we are fighting 2 wars that show no signs of ending now tell me why the fuck I should vote for your lot again? It would be a question I would ask regardless of my politics. But like over here in Ulster were we have the "We Hate Catholics" party and the "Kill all Protestants" party the WORSE thing you could do is vote for the other side for the simple reason they ARE the other side and they eat babies and have forked tails and are very possibly closet socialists.
Ok t'other side
Obama is all for "change" HA! my fat arse he is. He is a politician and they no more like change than a Notes geek likes Exchange!
We have an MLA over here Caitríona Ruane who is all for change too, but has managed in 5 years to make absolutely NO DIFFERENCE WHAT SO EVER and she has only 1 thing to do. This is because everyone thinks change is a wonderful thing until they have to do it, then they don't like it.
Change is Paisley shaking hands with Adams, Mandella shaking hands with de Klerk That is REAL change. That is a sea change that you can feel as the hair on your neck stands up with anticipation. Does Obama herald that change? Bollocks he does! My hair is sullen in it's refusal to stand. "He will be the first black president" so fecking what? Is the amount of melanin in the skin a measure of a man's worthiness? I have a sister with loads of freckles perhaps she could run for President over here. Similarly I have heard "But she will be the first woman president!" when Hilary was around. So not only colour but the possession of ovaries, uterus and breasts are the defining paradigm of this brave new "changed" world we are being ushered into?
The change that Obama champions is as ethereal as pixie dust and in 4 years time people will be asking "so what did change?" and as usual the answer will be ...nothing, nada, not a thing, zippo. This is the way the world works and particularly it seems in modern America. In January in the vaulted halls of power it will (probably) be the same old whore wearing a different dress.
I hope it won't. I really do! So this time next year lets all meet back here and see what has happened in the intervening 12 months any bets that anything will have changed?
**Udpate** Down in the comments Bob informs me that the US government is a LOT bigger than it was 8 years ago, as is the annual budget deficit, not to mention the national debt. LOTS bigger and the tax burden on the middle class is WAY higher than it was 8 years ago... in that case perhaps things CAN only get better.. we shall see. ...oO(but wait isnt Bush in the "Definitly-not-left-no-siree-we-are-very-right-but-not-right-enough-to-be-nasty" party which is the wee gov,low taxes party? Ah the sweet sickly taste of pure irony!)