Following Dave’s declaration that he avoided posting about religion and politics, I thought it only proper that I should add my two penn’orth of ill-informed, prejudiced and uncalled for commentary on the events of the last two days.
In the last two days the following has happened:-
1) Barack Obama has been elected to be the 44th president of the United States.
2) He is black
4) That’s it.
Honestly. That is it. That is all. Nothing more.
On the day of the election the airwaves were filled with journalistic cack of all sorts - nothing of any substance or interest. It was so dire that I had to turn off the radio in my car and talk to my wife – she is recovering now, and I have not bothered her today with my prattling, so there is no need for you to fret. Today, the media has been filled with millions of words about Mr Obama winning the election, and his being black. None of it has been any more informative or of any more consequence than that.
Can I draw your attention to two worthwhile pieces of writing about this couple of days, please?
Dear Willie has produced another very nice essay – well up to his usual standard, in which he describes the idiocy of the media.
My friends at the Onion have also told it as it really is. Yes, I know Willie said that today was not a day to be cynical, but by the time I post this it will be tomorrow, if you see what I mean. Like most good satire, the article will probably make you uncomfortable as well as amused.
Let me tell you how I see it, after all, every other bastard has been determined to foist their uninvited opinion on you.
As you may have deduced, my sympathies are on the left and liberal side of the political spectrum. Extreme left and extreme liberal. They have been that way ever since I can remember, and have not altered a great deal despite my movement into the middle classes, my growing older and more cynical and my acquisition of property. From here, I don’t see very much difference between the politics of McCain and Obama. Obama is preferable, but I don’t really see him making much difference, no matter how happy most of you are to see someone elected with a pledge to change the direction that the world’s number one superpower has been moving in. I will say this, however: I cannot imagine anyone with any intelligence ever voting either Republican or Conservative. I will never, ever vote for them or their allies. If you do vote for them, it is an act of stupidity. If you voted for McCain, it was an act of dangerous stupidity. But for Obama to have got this far, he will have cut deals and compromised. Even if he were to be a genuine liberal/left of centre idealist, those deals will come back and bite him in the ass, and prevent the changes that all of my liberal friends are hoping for. Yes, I am that cynical.
What really astounds me, though, is the description of Obama as being “socialistic”. This term is usually used disparagingly, as if caring for the rights and welfare of the underprivileged were somehow disgusting. This is the legacy of the Thatcher/Reagan era. I wish someone had strangled those two motherfuckers at birth, along with all of the other stupid fascists queuing up to take their place as the leaders of the “fuck you” party.
The spirit of the American constitution and the declaration of independence and the Gettysburg address all hint at the high ideals of socialism, but I don’t recall any US politicians who have really been left wing.
For the benefit of those of you from foreign parts, and those of you so young that you don’t remember the Labour party being on the left, can I illustrate what I mean by a left wing politician.
The man whose name first springs to mind is Nye Bevan. I have more than a few differences with his politics, but he is one of the few public figures who has gained my admiration. Nye came from working class stock, underachieved at school, and worked as a coalminer. He joined a trade union, had his qualities recognised, and was elected as member of parliament for his home town. He attracted a great deal of animosity, because of his commitment and uncompromising attitudes. Despite having a stammer and the lack of ability to pronounce the letter ‘r’ (I can’t stand people like that), he was a brilliant orator. After the second world war, the British voters kicked out Churchill who had led them through the years of conflict, (I have never found a convincing explanation for this) and elected a Labour government that was largely socialist in nature. Bevan was given the job of overseeing the establishment of the National Health Service. Not only was he given the job of doing it, but he did it, and did it very well. The principles were: health treatment free at the point of delivery, and equality for all in the standard of care received. All treatment was paid for by the taxpayer. This meant that for people of my generation, we were able to grow up in a society where we could see the doctor, have him visit us, get treatment and medicine, and not have to worry about paying the bill. Of course, no society can really afford the kind of healthcare that we want – where there is no waiting for treatment or diagnosis, there are sufficient staff, hospitals and resources to provide care of an acceptable standard for everyone, but for the early part of my life systems were put in place to strive towards that. I will leave for another time how the right wing governments of the last 30 years have shat all over that ideal.
This is a simplistic account of what happened. It is not suitable for inclusion in your Ph.D. thesis. I am merely outlining the events in order to describe part of what I mean when I talk about socialism.
Even if Obama wanted that kind of health care in America, he knows that he would never be allowed to begin to think about implementing it.
So, joyful celebrators of a new era, I am sorry if I have pissed on your fireworks this November 5th. I really hope that the new president manages to end the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, not start any new ones, sort out and regulate the fuckwits running the world’s financial institutions, and bring about a serious reduction in poverty, prejudice and inequality in the USA. I sincerely wish that. It is just that I can’t see the bastards who backed the Republicans, control the media and got Dubya elected allowing that to happen.