Sunday, October 10, 2010

A Matter Of Perspective

There are several reasons I try to go to Watching America at least once a week. I sometimes find information on American policy which hasn't been presented in our own press. I sometimes find news that bears on the US which hasn't been covered by our own press. And, of course, I almost always find articles which reflect just how our nation is viewed by the rest of the world.

It's this last category that was in play this week. Our upcoming election and the current campaigns came for some pretty astute analysis in this opinion piece from Jordan's Addustour. The trope used by Osama Al-Shareef to describe the current state of the US with respect to the election is that of a 'nervous breakdown.' On reflection, I concluded that the metaphor was a good one, although it comes very close to being the real deal and not just a figure of speech.

First, his description of the Republicans:

Extremism has overrun the Republican Party, which is now witnessing an internal coup led by a group of white Christians who are fanatics both religiously and politically and who are known as the tea party. A number of tea party candidates have been able to knock down candidates who are symbols of the Republican Party in the primaries and thereby have won the chance to represent the party in the midterm elections. Among these candidates is Christine O’Donnell, a Christian conservative who admits to practicing sorcery and witchcraft in her youth. Also among them is New York gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino, who revealed his racism toward black people specifically. There are others who have shaken the foundations of the Republican Party and gathered around Sarah Palin, who is preparing herself to challenge Obama in the 2012 elections, and other religious conservatives who want to return America to the Lord and the ideals of conservatism which the United States was founded on over 200 years ago.

As a liberal, I found myself chuckling appreciatively at this description, but not for long. Here's what he had to say about the Democrats:

In contrast, the Democratic Party appears defeated as it faces the public’s anger and loss of hope in the promises for change made by President Obama. The liberals and those who voted for Obama are accusing the Obama administration of failing to bring about the changes that were central to the campaign and promised to them by the president. Obama has saved the banks and major corporations that were responsible for the huge economic downturn, while he has failed to do anything to save the average citizen who has lost his job and home and is now trying to gather the scattered pieces of his life that were destroyed by a corrupt and greedy capitalist system.

While Osama al-Shareef nails it with respect to the discontent of liberals over the various broken promises by the administration, he leaves out another focus for that discontent, the Democrats in Congress who, like the president, catered to the whims of the lobbyists and who refused to do the hard work of legislating in the face of upcoming elections.

So, the mental health of the nation is naturally a bit shaky at this point: on the one hand we have the manics waving their tea bags and pitchforks, and on the other we have the depressives who can't figure out just what went wrong. The real question, of course, is whether either half of the national bipolar disorder will actually make it to the polls in a couple of weeks.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

bipolar: right and far right.

10:55 AM  
Blogger Diane said...


Well said!

10:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


11:03 AM  
Anonymous ms f said...

I liken it to an abusive situation, where the relationship with the Republican administration is abusive.

We get out of that bad situation only to be brave enough to try again.
Alas, we find we keep being attracted to the same type.

This one isn't quite so bad, or is it? We need to break the cycle to heal, as a nation, of course.

11:18 AM  

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