As Aesop once wrote: “While I see many hoof marks going in, I see none coming out. It is easier to get into the enemy’s toils than out again.”
SO IT’S all over, including the shouting. Bush supporters are cheering, “We told you so!” while the Kerry camp, including most of the expats posting on Forumosa’s US Presidential Election 2004 thread, shakes its collective head, thinking, “My God! Not four more years of THIS!”
Indeed, one would think that with all the clear and present incompetence and deception in the international arena by President Bush, Felix the Cat should have been able to make catnip out of the W.
But there is also a small, hardcore Bush faction on the site, which now seems to think that Bush’s getting 51 percent of the popular vote gives him a “mandate.” Forumosan Eric: “We have a mandate for the first time since 1988.”
I’m not sure what formula Eric and others are using to define mandate, but it might be worth mentioning that as the Wall Street Journal pointed out, Bush’s victory was “the narrowest win for a sitting president since Woodrow Wilson in 1916.” Sound like a mandate to you?
While Bush received the largest number of votes for a winning candidate this year (due to increased voter numbers), it is also true that he also received the largest number of votes against him for a winning candidate. Sound like a mandate to you?
Some of those “mandate leftovers” have started as Web site, posted by butcher boy – http://www.sorryeverybody.com – that pretty much sums up the sentiments of nearly half of the electorate.
The fact is, however, that most of us expats have a very different view of the American president than the populace that he governs. We don’t have a problem understanding, at least on a reasonable level, cultures different from what is considered Americana. We feel in some ways connected with the international community in a closer sense than Joe Six-pack in Dickinson, North Dakota, for example.
For many of us, the American-led war in Iraq was the most significant and misguided attack in the world since 9/11.
But here’s the wake-up call – Americans don’t give a good goddamn about Iraq. Hello, asshole! IRAQ IS NOT IN AMERICA!
As Danimal points out, “Exit polls show that moral values was the number one issue on voter’s minds as they went to the polls. Jobs were second, then terrorism, then Iraq. Obviously, since Bush won, more people thought they shared Bush’s values than Kerry’s.”
Well, how’s this for morality: The conservative estimate by the respected medical journal the Lancet of 100,000 civilians killed since the beginning of the campaign to win the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people – over 30 times the number of innocents killed on Sep. 11, 2001 – raises few eyebrows in the States, except for those who condemn the figure (not the substance) as being too high, saying that maybe only 15,000 or so were killed (still five times the number killed on 9/11).
So what the hell does this have to do with the price of coffee at Starbucks? Nothing of course. It’s Eye-rack! It’s meaningless. It’s some primitive place filled with “suspected” insurgents that are “over there so we don’t have to fight them at home.” And they don’t even talk English! What’s the deal with that?
What does matter, apparently, is that Bush is a God-fearing, prayer sort of guy, and that’s really important (Arab types don’t pray to the real God, so all that head-banging on the floor doesn’t count for much, one assumes).
Formosan member Bob: “The religious nuts care so much about things like gay marriage and stem cell research that they are willing to tolerate disastrous economic policies, environmental degradation, increased crime and incarceration, increased national debt, poor relations with the international community, etc. Sure makes you wonder about some people’s sense of morality.”
Not really. That’s an easy one: Americans’ sense of morality is American and applies to Americans only.
Again from Bob: “Somebody asked why Bush was re-elected. It is because many Americans are too stupid to realize that America’s security is dependent, at least somewhat, on not making so many enemies.”
Like it or not, we live an ever-more interconnected world, and Bush’s “with us or against us” mentality and nose-thumbing at the UN (unless the US needs its help) has made the US a pariah superpower in the eyes of many nations.
According to a survey by GlobeScan (a global research firm) and the University of Maryland, a majority of people in 30 of 35 countries polled wanted John Kerry in the White House, on average by more than a two-to-one margin.
Good thing these foreigners didn’t get to vote in the States, thinks Bush.
But the fact remains that a remarkably large number of people in other countries feel Bush is a global menace and Iraq is the evil talisman hanging from his neck.
But echoing Bush’s own comments that the terrorists don’t like the spread of freedom, MaPoSquid postulates: America’s enemies chose to become enemies because the U.S. is successful.
Is that so?
Well, what does public enemy No. 1 have to say on the matter? You remember, impossible-to-catch and “wanted dead or alive” Osama bin Laden? (He’s the one free and responsible for 9/11, not that Saddam fellow, who apparently has yet to enjoy the right to a swift and fair trial as befits the newly “democratic” Iraq.) In his latest video statement bin Laden asks, if freedom is the enemy, “Why did we [Al Qaida] not attack Sweden?”
Good question. Perhaps because Sweden isn’t very successful?
Wolf Reinhold is a moderator on Forumosa.com, a discussion forum for Taiwan’s online community.