Goddamit, America – I make one small promise not to blog anymore about your ludicrous electoral processes until after the Big Day (which neatly coincides with the Melbourne Cup: just one more reason to crack open a series of bottles and screeeeam at the television) but I just can’t do it. The pressure of saying nothing has both exhausted and weighed upon me, so that I feel like Will Smith in Independence Day, hauling a half-dead alien through the desert. And now – by jingo! – I need to get some things off my chest.
1. The Republican Party
It doesn’t seem unreasonable to compare a vote for John McCain at this point to a vote for Nixon after Watergate. The Republican ticket has demonstrated itself to be so duplicitous, hypocritical and untrustworthy – not to mention downright insane – that electing them on the offchance of improvement makes about as much as sense as giving a serial DUI offender a bottle of single malt and the keys to a vintage roadster. Do Not Want.
2. John McCain
Is a cranky old man, and everyone knows it. That’s not the only reason he shouldn’t be president, but it does explain his prejudices, selective ignorance and random interview tantrums. Assuming he ever was, McCain is no longer a statesman for whom patience and tact come easily. Can you imagine him facing tricky questions over the foregin negotiating table without physically lunging for the nearest Russian throat? Having an excellent poker face is moot if your temper never allows it play, and whenever the media starts talking about McCain on a ‘good day’, like they did during the last Presidential debate, I instantly think of a nurse describing a dementia patient during a moment of lucidity, viz: someone undergoing a temporary return to form, not a step towards recovery. Age can bring experience, but only when tempered by self-control and a lively mind. McCain boasts neither – at this point, he can’t even keep his running mate in check. Which brings us to:
3. Sarah Palin
Lord, how this woman scares me. I could talk about her jibberish jargon-babble, winks to the camera, campaign wardrobe, complete and utter ignorance of foreign policy, purposeful deviations from the party line and the Alaskan trooper scandal, but those are all just symptoms of the woman herself. When I look at Sarah Palin – when I read about her, listen to her and examine her actions – I see someone convinced of their own self-righteousness but lacking introspection. I see a politician who takes instinct unlevened by either experience or education as her primary guiding star, and who believes that the Biblican injunction for man and wife to work together overrides political confdentiality. I see a woman so powerfully convinced of the rightness of her vision for America that she’s willing to disregard all due processes – even go against her party leader – to see it take shape. I see a woman who, deep down, believes that intellectuals don’t know what they’re talking about if they don’t know God, and that even intellectuals who do know God are still too far removed from the common man to be useful. I see a rich, power-hungry politician who still believes in her own humility and down-to-earthness because, although she wears the trappings of success, she’s really just a layman on a holy crusade. I see someone who’ll burn the world and call it Rapture.
……..aaaand I’m back to the American Apocalypse. Great. This is exactly what I didn’t want, and the reason I’ve been keeping my Goddam mouth shut. I’m rooting for Obama, all the evidence says he’s going to win, but I can’t shake the awful fear that the USA will vote GOP. Like taking a flu shot to combat the actual flu, I feel the need to fill up on bile and bitterness now, the better to deal with disappointment. Logically, I know it’s not the end of the world. American hegemony was always going to end around now, and I’m not so Yankee-centric as to assume it bespells horror for the rest of us. But the writer in me – the fantasist, lover of apocalyptic fiction – keeps theorising on How It Can All Go Wrong.
Damn America. I give up.