4 November 2010

Looking at THEM – the US midterm elections

There’s the danger that watching or reading about the American midterm elections taking place this week would have made us feel a bit, superior.

It all seems very messy and loud to us doesn’t it. The TV campaign ads; seemingly written and directed in a parallel universe where Chris Morris awakes from a coma - cleansed of irony - and is convinced to accept his previous work at face value before having a camera and a budget thrust upon him. The Fox news coverage; fronted by a tearfully patriotic Glenn Beck, crying a tide that only a levee of 50 dollar bills can really stem.  Here Channel 4 News presents us with the normal American reduced to food stamps and forced to buy basic health insurance, since losing their job with the vigilante border patrol mob.  They say your hero Barack Obama is a rubbish President now.  They think he was born in Kenya... like Hitler.  Not a proper American politician.  Not like Arnold Schwarzenegger.  They use the terms “liberal” and “socialist” in the way that we might use “fascist” or “paedophile”, shoe horning 21st century toes into cold war boots.  John Stewart is trying to restore sanity in America by LOLing at it all on the Daily Show as we watch and applaud, secretly knowing he means “why can’t we be more like the British”.  For here there is no political insanity.  No media circus.

Words like Socialist and Liberal mean different things to us.  Bevan is broadly celebrated for creating our NHS, even by conservatives.  All Labour leadership candidates unanimously declared “I’m a Socialist” when asked at a televised debate, without being branded Hitler.  We don’t do polarisation, and biased tabloid TV battles, we don’t have nationalist street rallies and religious fundamentalism in politics.  We don’t.

Not like them

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