Sunday, September 14, 2008

Abortion is the No. 1 election priority? Stop it: you're frightening me now!

I was looking on another blog a day or so ago, an American blog and a thoughtful and thought-provoking one. I was quite surprised at how the discussion developed. "Let me give you a clue how I'm going to vote" was the tag line. The clue was abortion - in fact nothing short of the total irradication of abortion in the U.S.through the overturning of Roe v Wade. This is not a unique position by any means, as I discovered as I contnued to surf.

There are people who are going to vote in this election on the issue of abortion?

Now, please don't misunderstand me: I am not an advocate of abortion on demand by any means, but the idea that there are people who will cast their votes in this election first and foremost on the issue of abortion is terrifying. Have these people so little national self-awareness that they still believe that this is a purely domestic election? WAKE UP GUYS!!! You are the only superpower on the planet at the moment therefore the outcome of your vote has international ramifications and however unlooked for, that is an awsome responsibility.

If this was a British election I doubt anyone outside these isles - and a good few within them - would care in the slightest about our domestic concerns, but let's not kid ourselves that the U.S. election is one like any other. Now of all times you can not afford to be inward looking and go all isolationist on us as if what you choose has no wider implications.

Oh God help us, D.P.'s going all prophetic on us.

You bet I am: we have a resurgent Russia, we have Iraq and Afghanistan as yet unresolved, we have Burma, Georgia, Darfur, Israel/Palestine, Zimbabwe and Tibet as international rebukes; we have environmental degradation; we have the real and present threat of terrorism; we have Freddie Mac and Fannie May, Lehman Brothers and Merrill-Lynch, runs on banks and a consequent financial instability that reverberates around the world (for which, thank you - it's costing me money) and you want to vote on abortion? Are you so inward looking that you have forgotten there is a world beyond your borders?


Editorial from Sunday's Observer Newspaper:

It seemed that to many Europeans, (your supposed friends, partners and allies) especially of a liberal bent, the emergence of Sarah Palin as one of the dominant forces in American politics is a cause for dismay.

At first glance she seems to represent the triumph of the personal over the political. Her looks are remarked upon, her fashions critiqued. For supporters her status as a mother of five is touted as her greatest virtue. For others the Palin family is a source of sniping gossip. Her breezy, straight-talking style is hailed by admirers as a key to unlocking the vital support of the latest fad in polling demographics: Wal-Mart Moms. Others see it as a sign of a political ingenue possessing little in the way of sophistication beyond her background as a small town mayor.

This is to overlook the substance of her beliefs. Palin represents an extreme form of conservatism. She is not just anti-abortion, she opposes abortion even in cases of rape or incest. And Palin supports the introduction of creationist ideas into the classroom, alongside evolution. She is sceptical of global warming, only recently accepting that human activities might play a role, flying in the face of vast bodies of scientific opinion - even the US government's own advisers. She is pro-drilling for oil in environmentally sensitive areas in a world that needs to wean itself away from fossil fuels. Her grasp of foreign policy is limited to a series of hawkish and naive soundbites on Russia, terrorism and Iran.

America has had eight years of a government that has held similar views. The result has been to put ideological and emotional distance between it and large parts of Europe, Asia and Latin America. Apart from isolationist Republicans, this is bad news both for America and the rest of us. America needs a friendlier world to do economic and political business. The world needs an America more in tune with its natural friends and allies.

The political beliefs exemplified by Palin and her fellow religious conservatives are not the answer, no matter how well presented by her considerable political skills.

Change is the watchword of the American election. But McCain, in putting Palin on his ticket, is trying to pull off an audacious con trick. Palin does not represent change, but more of the same. And then some.