America really baffles me sometimes. I am aware that this is primarily, well, entirely, attributed to the fact that I am European, but there are some things that I find outrageous and I cannot bring myself to understand. Mind you, these are things that I have been observing for years because I have been following American politics for quite some time. So I would like to take the time to simply rant about them, being fully aware that there are deep and logical explanations for them but since I do not have neither the desire nor the time, I will not go into them at this time.
First of all: the apathy. The Presidential candidate of one of the biggest parties in the country just said that he doesn’t care about 47% of the country. He basically said that they are irresponsible people who don’t care for themselves. Why isn’t everyone up in arms? I realize that there has been significant backlash, primarily from the media, but his statement is so outrageous that I would expect people to be disgusted and shocked; I would expect people to flee from his ranks. Mitt Romney has suffered in the polls but not as much as he would suffer if he was in a European country. A statement like this in my country would mean immediate political death. Another example is women’s rights that are being attacked all over the country; rights and freedoms that have been secured after decades of struggle are being violated and threatened and a certain politician is going around saying that women who want to have a lot of sex and want the government to pay for their contraceptives (because obviously the more sex you have the more pills you need, get it girls?) should post videos of it online. I would expect him to never hold office ever again. Yet, that man is endorsed! He is endorsed by someone who sought the nomination of the Republican party! Men and women, especially young women should be outraged.
Second: the polarization. I know the roots of it are in the way the American political system works but it is quite peculiar that this country is still fighting over things that are so 1990’s. Like women’s rights, which I have already mentioned, or the environment (the US hasn’t even signed the Kyoto protocol) or health care. All these issues have long been resolved in Europe and never caused the polarization that they are causing in the US. That is not to say that there were no fights over them but once a decision was made, we didn’t go back to them, over and over and over again. There seems to be this constant struggle over certain issues, with the country literally divided in half which remain unresolved and are always there, lingering over everyone’s heads. It seems so stagnant to try to deal with the same issues all the time. Now, this will be one of the few times, if not the only one, that I will actually ever praise Paul Ryan. He has repeatedly stated that he does not wish to repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell because as he says what is done is done and reversing it would cause more harm than good. Indeed, what is done is done. Move on!
There is obviously a great opportunity with the elections coming up. The verdict is not yet in on Romney, Todd Akin and the rest. It remains to be seen if the anger that the public should theoretically be feeling will expresses itself on the ballot. I sure hope it will. There is so much at stake in these elections. Reproductive rights, gay rights, social welfare and so on. Most importantly, what is on the ballot is if this country will stop dealing with the same issues and whether those who so blatantly insult half the country and proclaim absurdities (Todd Akin just claimed that there are doctors who give abortions to women who are not pregnant! I mean, come on!) will be punished by obscurity or be tolerated. Whether people will finally raise hell and not just demand but force change with their vote.
Note: Raise Hell is a Brandi Carlile song with very poignant and related lyrics!