Thursday, May 07, 2015

American Poltics: Why I Still Care...

This past weekend was a Bank Holiday here in the UK , so we had a long weekend to enjoy the on-again, off-again sunshine.

We had the great honor and privilege to attend the wedding of two incredibly dear friends of ours. Peter and Simon have been together for over twelve years, and on Friday they tied the knot and got married. The celebration that followed I have jokingly referred to as their “big fat communist wedding” as dozens of the their friends all contributed to help throw what on Saturday evening, turned out to be an epically awesome party.

Today is the UK General Election, The election campaign here has been very sedate compared to what passes for normal in the US.  It's safe to say compared to the current hype  in the US over the 2016 Presidential race, the UK election seems comatose by comparison.  I did have to hand it to Sky News, they came up the best TV ad in the election run up.

The  conversation at the wedding party last weekend, occasionally turned to politics. A number of people knowing that I am American and therefore cannot vote today here in the UK, asked me who I would be supporting next year, in the 2016 US Presidential contest.    Friends of mine here on this side of the Atlantic, ( including my husband), have often asked me why do I still care about American Politics?  

After all, the eight years of insanity the world endured during the Bush-Cheney Administration were far worse for Americans than it was for Europeans. If next year the American electorate is stupid enough to vote against their own best interests and elect any of the current or potential GOP Clown car occupants, then let them.    If Americans are truly gullible enough to swallow the steaming pile of BS that the GOP is going to serve up to protect the interests of the top one-tenth of one percent, all at the expense of everyone else, Well then, Americans deserve everything they get. 

Other wedding guests, chimed in, pointing out that  while the United States engages in an all out cultural civil war over the idea that the Bill of Rights, actually applies to all Americans;    Here in the United Kingdom, same sex couples like Peter and Simon, and Eric and I  enjoy all the same rights as everyone else.  Rights that have actually increased over the past year,  as Britain's conservative government pushed ahead with the expansion of Civil Unions, into full and equal  Marriage.

The GOP has made it clear they want to mortgage the lives of vast majority of the American  people by turning the American health care  system back into economic Darwinism - Survival of the Richest.    While the rest of the world expands the boundaries of medical science and harness the potential  of stem cell research, at the same time,  addressing  the issue of Abortion by dealing with the causes of it, rather than simply attacking women. Bush, Walker, Cruz, Huckabee, etc. will turn back the clock for American Women to the 19th Century.

Meanwhile, here in the United Kingdom, the National Health Service will go along just fine, side by side, with sensibly regulated private insurance providers, (Yes that's right Fox News dimwits. The UK has both), All ensuring that in when it comes to average life expectancy of a child born in 2015, the UK will continue to climb from its current rank of 13th in the world, while the best the United States will be able to hope for is not to slip too far down from its current ranking of 38th.  

So why bother?   Knowing what America, under a Republican Presidency would become; A rabid right wing home-schooled theocracy, where what is left of government, serves the needs of only the wealthiest of the wealthy. A nation of Tea Party idiots, who will wave the Constitution like a banner, but have never read it., nor understand  it.   American Talibangelicals, who scream hysterically about the threat of "Sharia Law", but want to impose their own fundamentalist extremist beliefs on everyone else.

Should my fellow Americans be so stupid as to forget the consequences of their choices in 2000 and 2004 2010, and 2014, rest assured Europe and Asia won't be following the U.S. off the cliffs of economic, social and cultural insanity that  Jeb Bush, Scott Walker or Ted Cruz would go hurtling off at full speed.

While the United Kingdom and the rest of Western Europe, and Asia moves on to harness renewable energy and tackle the challenges of climate change, across the Atlantic,  Sarah Palin, Ben Carson and Donald Trump want to  hand over America's National Parks to Oil Companies, Timber Companies and Mining Corporations.  

While students here  train for the jobs and challenges of tomorrow, look for the GOP to eliminate science from public schools. As the likes of Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee demand that American students are only taught that the Earth is 6,000 years old, and the human race began with two fully formed people, who rode around a garden on dinosaurs, chatting it up with talking snakes.  Climate Change is liberal conspiracy, and taxing the poor and middle class, all to bankroll the greed and privilege of the top one percent, is a magical path to prosperity for all.

So why should I care? After all, there is no point in trying to reason with American Conservatives . Reason involves facts and reality. Two things the American Conservatives have learned to be quite comfortable living without.

My friends smile warmly and assure me that the rest of the World will, for a little while, feel bad about America's demise. But soon, everyone will get over it, quite content to move on without the United States. China, Russia, India, and many others will smile and applaud, as the GOP completely destroys what is left of the American Manufacturing sector.

Mexico, Japan and South Korea will quietly cheer as the talking heads on FOX News gleefully report on Scott Walker’s great achievement of the end of the rights of unionised workers. While at the same time, insisting that multi million dollar bonuses (at middle class taxpayer expense) for Wall Street executives are necessary to "keep America's Job Creators strong."

Why, one person asked, did  I feel that I  have to do my part to try to reason with people who rather than just come out and admit they just couldn't  accept the fact the President of the United States was Black; instead have spent the last 8 years in a rabid rant and rave about a coming "UN Invasion" as Barack Obama's UN Storm troopers are going to come "for your guns".

Many of my friends both in Europe and  Asia  ask me; Why not leave the United States to the racist, homophobic misogynistic theo-facist nutjobs who believe it should be easier to buy an automatic weapon than it is to vote? Why not just let America go the way of the dinosaur, After all, the rest of the world will smile and thank the GOP for all they have done to eliminate their competition 

Why not indeed.... I guess for me, the problem is unlike Sean Hanity and the scared gullible bigots that hang on his every twitter posting, I really do believe that the greatness of the United States lies in our diversity. "E Pluribus Unum" - Out of Many , One.   At the end of the day, I may live in Great Britain, and I may be married to Brit, and yes I may even occasionally eat baked beans on toast for breakfast.  But I am an American and yes I care what happens in 2016. 

I care, because I love my country and believe that even when we fail miserably to live up to our stated ideals, the United States of America remains far more potential than we have ever been actualized.

The GOP says they "want their country back". The vision of America they hold as "their country" is one where an ultra-conservative religious social agenda is made into Civil Law. Women's Rights to control their own bodies, Affirmative Action, Gay and Lesbian Rights, Separation of (their) Church and State, the social safety nets of Medicare/ Social Security and Public Education are all abolished.

I care because the Republican Party has lost its mind, and sold its soul.

For the good of America, for the good of the rest of the world, the progress America has made over the past eight years under President Obama and the Democratic Party, needs to continue.   The current crop of Republican Presidential hopefuls has made one thing painfully clear;   the GOP is addicted to crazy, and like many addicts, the only way they will ever kick their destructive habit, is to finally hit rock bottom. 

American Presidential Elections are always rife with superlatives. Sweeping statements of how THIS next election will be the most important in our lifetime. How the choice Americans will make in November, 2016 will be a pebble thrown in the pond of history, the ripples from which, will be felt for generations to come...etc..etc.   

Oddly enough, this time. It's the truth. The United States is at a cultural and economic crossroads. Will we all move forward together, or will we sacrifice the future of the many, to subsidise the very few? Will the United States of America continue to more towards the  future, or stumble backwards to a fearful, small minded past where the American Dream exists only for a select few?

I care because I want America to keep moving forward. 

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