Well, the American elections are over, and I can say I'm more than disappointed. I wonder what's to come over the next half decade? Geez, I hope we revert back to theocracies. That's exactly what we need...
Here's a letter I wrote to Mark Morford, a columnist with The San Francisco Gate. His messages really resonate with me, and he was as passionately anti-Bush as I am.
I truly am disappointed with the election results as they become clearer today, and I am truly sympathetic to the American people today. Despite the fact Kerry is no prize, Bush isn't even a booby prize. I have followed the ups and downs of the American election campaign as much as everyone else and have been glued to the media as a result, trying to absorb as much information as possible, all the while trying to process everything as non-partisan and non-judgmentally as possible. Yet, it still really boggles the mind to think that if even a slightly larger percentage of your fellow Americans had done some fact-checking and soul-searching, the results might have come out quite differently. Democracy is so wonderful and horrible at the same time.
As a Canadian, I tried to take American and non-American media reports and stories with a grain of salt. I realize that the Canadian media (more fair and balanced than American media? Hmmm...maybe not. Familiar situation....they're controlled by only two or three media conglomerates as well) may have been reporting things with a 'twinge' of partisanship, but the fact that a resounding majority of international opinion polls stated time and time again that Kerry was desired in the White House did not resonate with the American electorate. Why did the American people not consider the fact that a large majority of the global population overwhelmingly wanted Bush out? The fact that 95% of the world's population were not eligible to vote in this election, yet will still be affected by the outcome of this election is truly unnerving. The average American truly has succumbed to the fear-mongering and compulsive lying of the GOP and Bush Administration. Under the guise of the protective father (Father?), Bush has barely maintained his position, but now has the mandate to continue his steam rolling, neo-Con, Pax Americana agenda for at least the next few years. I fear the damage may be far too extreme by then that it may be too late to stop it.
Maybe it's something else? Maybe the American electorate voted for Bush in spite of global concern. I truly worry that the American consciousness might be more insidious than I had feared - that living in a culture of fear, distrust, aggression, guns, and hostility can really start to be internalized at a fundamental, long-lasting level after awhile. I'm starting to truly believe that a majority of Americans really do unalterably BELIEVE that they are the pinnacle of modern society (very Roman Empire-esque), and that it is the God-given Christian right of America to instill American beliefs, values and culture on the rest of the world at any cost because they are simply the best and only way to achieve world stability and enlightenment, and it is so obviously the right thing to do.
My favorite quote of all time is "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." by George Santayana. It speaks volumes about superpowers, forced occupations, insurgency, bad decisions and bad diplomacy. History repeats itself over and over again because people are too lazy, ignorant, intolerant or scared to learn about issues, facts, and reality beyond their limited perceptions and face anything that challenges them. Case in point, does Bush watch, listen, or read any more media than he did four years ago (which back then was practically nothing - a very disturbing personality trait for a world leader to begin with)? Probably not. I fear that the world is in for some big surprises over the next few years, and not good ones -- but maybe eye-opening ones.
Terrorism is a big deal, but not as big a deal as the governments would have you believe. How many people have been killed by Arab-based terrorism in the past four years (outside of the hot zones, that is)? Under one thousand, maybe? The biggies being Bali and Madrid, and maybe Chechnya. Terrorist cells are not as organized and armed as some people would have you believe, and it is almost ridiculous to think that they might be able to pull off another 9-11 or something as equally large-scale and synchronized without someone noticing something beforehand. What risk do people in Dubuque, Iowa or Montgomery, Alabama really have of being directly attacked by a terrorist organization? Probably even less than we do here in Calgary (we do have a large oil industry here after all - it could be a target someday. That's only before the Water Wars start, of course, which are going to render everything we hold dear today irrelevant). People have their priorities completely messed up. The environment and our unsustainable, damaging, polluting consumerist fever (and unfathomable public and private debt loads and teetering economies as a result) are the two biggest issues threatening the planet today. Everything else means zip if those two get messed up, and they're definitely not as irrefutable and untouchable as everyone naively wants to believe.
Anyways, Mark, thanks for trying to make a difference. I read your columns every week and agree with much of what you say and have really appreciated your passion to inform people of the truth and get them thinking about the things that really matter. It blows my mind that people are so uninformed and still have the ability to make decisions that affect so many other people that do not have a say. I wish you and your country all the best and wish the best of luck to your minorities (visible and invisible), poor, women, and secular citizens, as well as everyone else that isn't Christian, Conservative, rich, white and male. I think we may all be in a shock four years from now when we see how much things have changed in so many ways, and not for the better. Today, I'm relieved that I'm living where I live, and although I may come to visit you guys once in awhile (more so since the loonie is on the up-and-up in light of the American currency weakness...), I don't think I would have the required patience or resolve to live in the United States and endure what is to come. I wish you and yours all the best.
Thanks for reading,Reid