So, my thoughts on the presidential election now it's gone and happened and young George has gone and won, eh?
Balls, basically. I really did think Kerry had a good stab at the prize; he was in the lead in the polls all last week then on my return from bonnie Scotland yesterday, Bush had clawed back to tie the contest at 48% each. Then I slept on the sofa and set my alarm for 4.30 to catch the exciting bit of the election and Bush was way ahead. Not to worry, I thought, Kerry's still in with a chance! But the seeds of doubt were already sown. I reawoke at 11.30, it was all resting on Ohio, and despite Kerry clinging to any glimmer of hope there was, it looked pretty clear that the Republicans were whupping ass. So for the rest of the day, as the absentee ballots were counted, I tried not to think about it.
Of course, now I'm writing this, I kinda have to think about it. And I'll start from an objective, politics student stance. The thing with this time round is that it was pretty fair and square – no justified outrage from us would-be Democrats. We, well they, lost. In the end Kerry just couldn't convince the American people that Bush is both an arrogant cock and an extremist twat (both good reasons to kick a President out of office, I'd've thought).
It's a weird feeling: I can't really care less. This is probably due to three things.
1. I can't do anything about it now. Nor can anyone. We're stuck with Bush for four more years. He's going to do whatever he likes, and from our experience of his first term, there's no changing his mind about anything (obviously, Republican success in Congress reinforces this). I'm obviously kicking myself for not putting a bet on him when Kerry was still high in the polls, making my situation win-win. Ah well. I guess this is what apathy feels like.
2. I did Politics of the USA last academic year and to me the whole module was basically building up to this election. I had an intellectual stake in it. Now, having passed the course, I can no longer be fagged to analyse it. The farcelessness of yesterday's election has thrown up only one thing to marvel at: the neat geographical-based support for the two candidates: the north-east and west coast are blue, while the rest is red. Clearly, as the candidates were so polar, the country has split conveniently enough to warrant an actual secession of the Democratic states from the Union.*
3. This year I'm doing the module Comparative Foreign Policy and can now appreciate where the Bush administration are coming from with respect to their War on Terror. I still believe it's a crock of monkey snot, but I don't think there'll be a nuclear war any time soon.
So reluctant congratulations to George Bush Jr from this disillusioned student: you managed to convince the majority that the country was at (real) war (historically, war presidents have never been voted out of office); you've also managed to create the world's greatest theocracy, snatching the much-valued title from Iran. They must be gutted.
*Another issue raised is the slight problem of what is probably the most important election of our generation being decided by 136,000 hicks in a mid-west swing state who, thanks to Corporate News, have probably never heard of Abu Ghraib. But I'm not bitter.