British Exchange Student
Europe wants Barack Obama. Some Americans think that the world should keep its nose out of this election. To those people I point out that history, both distant and recent, shows that U.S. presidents have a tendency to involve themselves in the affairs of other nations. Therefore, since the next U.S. president will almost certainly interfere internationally, internationals now have a duty to interfere.
I was intrigued to learn of Jill Cavaliere's thoughts in her article last week ("American Politics, from Europe's point of view" Oct. 23, 2008). In this article she forms such a vague and generalised view of European perspectives on the U.S. election whilst stating that in the last month she has been asked about the election every week and a half. So at most Jill, about three times? I somehow do not believe this to be enough for anybody to form such a vague and generalised view of an entire continent. She claims that the "European perspective goes further than this," basing a hypothesis of Europe upon clearly limited experiences in one city. McCain may be viewed with disdain for the wrong reasons by narrow sections of society in London, but this can be by no sane means a reflection of the views of all Europeans. After all, Jill refers exclusively to the British political system which itself is highly distinct from the electoral methods employed in numerous other EU nations such as France, Italy, Russia and Austria.
Furthermore, the vague assumption that the British understanding of its own parliamentary system results in a narrow view of the respective presidential candidates is, in essence, patronisation of the highest calibre. We're told that, "There are less gray areas within each party" when, in actual fact, the same arguments that exist between American politicians of the same parties very often also rage within the confines of the Labour and Tory benches. Even if this were not true, intelligent people of any nationality are, perhaps surprisingly, capable of distinguishing between the electoral systems of different countries.
Ultimately, both Congress and Parliament employ party whips to push through legislation. What probably causes many British people to identify George Bush with John McCain is not ignorance but instead the voting record of the latter. Jill doubts that the British "frequently brush up on the American Declaration of Independence or Constitution." Actually, you'd be surprised - a lot of us do read and consequently have concluded that Bush, with the backing of figures like John McCain, has brought such documents into disrepute. Of course, the rest of the world has no business interfering in U.S. domestic affairs, so such violations really shouldn't concern us. That is none of our business. What is the business of Europeans though is Bush's blatant disregard for international law and the larger global community as well as, more significantly, McCain's previous support for the president in committing many shady acts, which, frankly, do affect us all.
To be fair to Jill, I do believe that the outside world does favour Obama, but not for the reasons she gives, nor due to an ignorant attitude toward the vital issues which have thus far defined this election. That countries can still exist in this world without a universal healthcare system is, to citizens of most developed nations, an uncomfortable and despicable truth.
The rhetoric of the Obama campaign seemingly offers a more promising approach toward the wellbeing of American citizens, whilst promising an appropriately reasoned and logical application of U.S. foreign policy, as well as sensible and necessary actions to fight the looming energy crisis. It is not ignorance which makes us hunger for an Obama presidency, but basic intelligence.
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