Saturday, January 05, 2008

Frenzy and Misconceptions

As expected, the Iowa caucuses results started a round of frenzy around the world. Many editorialists go on about how deeply significant these results are, and how they herald change in the US.

Some even press their right hand upon their chest at the heart's level, and tell you that what happened in these caucuses is the purest form and expression of democracy. If you look closely, you'll see their eyes glistening with unshed tears of pride and love. They're the journalists working for the Wall Street Journal, the great defenders of the neo-cons and the republicans, those who bark everywhere that the US is the greatest, the bestest democracy in the whole universe. I guess their sappy declarations of love for the caucuses, which are the most undemocratic process of election I've ever seen is coherent with their other declarations. At least I have to give the Wall Street Journal people this: they're not frightened of ridicule, and they do not step back from ludicrous claims:

Imagine a gymnasium full of people. Some are gathered in groups here and there. Others roam the space, undecisive. The groups shout at each other, yell catacalls, clap their hands and tap their feet on the ground to impress and unsettle the others, and try for shows of force to draw the undecisive their way. John Doe, who had said he'd vote for X, suddenly sees that a great many others are in group Y, and they call so loudly for more supporters that John Doe finds himself instintively going for the stronger group. In the meantime, Jane Smith wanted to vote for T, but T unfortunately doesn't gather enough supporters to be above a threshold percentage of votes. So Jane must choose someone else. No luck, she doesn't know. But the people supporting Y are so numerous, so loud. They seem so sure. So Jane goes to join the group defending Y. And when the ending time comes, a basket is handed from person to person, above heads in the crowd in a joyful chaos, and people "each" throw papers with the name of a candidate in the basket. There is no way of checking that this is done without any cheating. And of course, the caucus is nothing other than people putting pressure on other people to vote this instead of that. It bars some from attending, because it's held at a certain time, and that people who'd vote must endure at least 2hours of debate they have no need for, but must bow to, so they can be subjected to outside pressure and dictates on how they should vote.

The whole process certainly is the purest form of anti-democracy held in the self-proclaimed greatest democracy of the universe. A process the Wall Street Journal people know so well how to denounce when they explain the process of voting for or against a strike in gatherings of union workers. But then, it's true that this is the US, a country where voting isn't compulsory, and where elections day are invariably weekdays, when people are at work, and they either have to take a day off or do I don't know what to manage to place their vote. The greatest democracy of the world, indeed. But then, we wouldn't put the day for the election on Sunday, no, we wouldn't. We wouldn't dare annoy all the good Christians out there, would we?

Now, let's tackle the results of the Iowa caucuses on the Democrats' side. I'll spare you my thoughts on the Republicans' side, because you wouldn't like me to explain to you in detail how these results confirm my opinion that a good half of the USA no longer lives in a democracy but is putting a good old theocracy in place (the whole of the USA is in fact a plutocracy, but let's not go there either).

Barack Obama's victory certainly is a powerful symbol. It's gonna send hearts beating, it's gonna send waves of warmth and elation coursing the veins of all those who have soft spots and still delulde themselves into believing in the lie called the "American Dream". But at the end of the process, when the game is over, it'd be far better for Hillary Rodham to be the winner. Why?

Because, no matter what you can say, what the media can say, the American citizens as a whole will never elect Barack Obama over a good WASP Republican. No matter what people like to believe, the heritage of segregation and racism aren't dead in the US. The South and the Middlewest states, the infamous Bible Belt will not elect a black, Democrat candidate as president, even though his mother is a purebred WASP.

Because, whether or not the people who have sparks in their eyes when they hear Obama talking of "deep change in the way of doing politics" and of "suppressing the wars between red and blue states" like it, the whole speech is just empty words that have a nice ring to them. There will never be "peace" and "understanding" and "collaboration" between Republican and Democrat states. People will never abandon their little wars, their agendas. And more importantly, they will not renounce their own ideas to endorse some kind of empty, soft consensus. And if they did, in some utopia world or other, the result would be a status-quo that would in no way be the tiniest beginning of the change Barack Obama claims to be embodying.

Because, outside of his "I'll change everything" message, Barack Obama has no clear program, no clear vision of what he'll do and how. Outside of his nice face, of his appealing youth and the fact people don't know him and thus don't (yet) associate him with their general dislike of politics, there's no clear indication of what he wants. Worse, from the little he's said, he looks like the most conservative of the Democrat candidates...

Because Hillary Rodham has the experience.

Because Hillary Rodham has fought in the arena, because she has confronted the fiends one finds on one's path in Washington, when she tried to reform the oh so nice and fair health "care" system the US has.

Because Hillary Rodham has guts, because she's strong. Because she knows what she'up against, because that terrible machine has beaten her down once, and she rebuilt herself. Because she failed, and took strength from that painful experience. Because she is the only one, having encountered it, fought it, to be able to claim she can challenge the smearing and demolition machine of the Republicans. She's been there. She's withstood them. She's proven her metal.

Hillary Rodham has proven she has the will and the strength to endure and to prevail in the hell they call a presidential campaign. She has been tested. She has been through fire.

Because Hillary Rodham knows there is a world beyond hte US borders, and will have many friends in Europe. Because she knows the job.

Because she has a team such as no other candidate can have.

Because, once the Republicans will have chosen Rudy Juliani, John Mc Cain or Mitt Romney, she's the only one who can confront them.

And if she could have Edwards as a vice-president hopeful, I think I'd have to revise my judgment, and start believing again that a hope for change is possible in the US.

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