Reptilia

I don’t usually get too emotionally exercised about politics – though I have strong opinions, my engagement tends to be confined to ideas rather than passions. This is due in part to my generally phlegmatic personality, but also reflects the political temperament of my homeland, a country where change, even of the most profound nature, mostly presents itself as slow evolution rather than violent revolution. This is a decidedly mixed blessing; it bestows a reassuring stability on the polity, but allows our governments to get away with things that would provoke insurrection in more excitable nations.

It is rare then for me to feel anxiety, let alone twinges of fear, when I am considering some political question, especially one concerning a foreign country. Yet the more I read about Sarah Palin, the more I find myself worrying about John McCain’s health.

Faced with the prospect of a US president who believes that The Rapture will happen within her lifetime, all one can do is embrace the relatively comforting notion that the occupant of the White House has no real power anyway, since the world is actually controlled by a cabal of giant lizards.

3 Responses to Reptilia

  1. I was browsing around your blog trying to see if you mention what country you’re from but didn’t see (admittedly though I looked at only a few posts). Why does someone from a foreign country interest himself or herself in an American election? Friends of mine who travel to Europe tell me that Europeans get all worked up in knots about the US election, and I wonder if my friends aren’t greatly exaggerating.

    Most Americans don’t give a fig about foreign elections and not because they are uninterested in the world. I think they just feel it’s none of their business.

    As to your notion of Palin, her faith, the Rapture, etc., why does it not occur to you that you’re buying into a rather crude stereotype? In the US only a generation ago, easily within my memory, the same sorts of stereotypes were used to ridicule American black people. Now, of course, all that has changed. Blacks are hip. But many “liberal” Americans don’t know (or possibly don’t care) and probably most non-Americans around the world don’t know that American blacks are a very religious demographic. Many of their views are virtually identical to Sarah Palin’s — not, mind you, to the cartoon version of Sarah Palin’s faith — but to Sarah Palin’s actual faith in Jesus Christ.

    Just thought you should know.

    Meanwhile, why do people in other countries care about America’s election? I’m really curious and would love to get one blogger’s authentic viewpoint.

    Ann’s New Friend

  2. secondlifeshrink says:

    “Meanwhile, why do people in other countries care about America’s election? I’m really curious and would love to get one blogger’s authentic viewpoint.”

    Well, I know at least one person who has lost his job, and will probably lose his house, as a result of the current financial crisis, which, I think everyone agrees, has its roots in the deregulation of Wall Street. Then there’s current US foreign policy, particularly the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the effect that has on our domestic politics, not to mention our physical security.

    The point being that my life is directly and at times quite profoundly affected by the policies of the US Administration, both domestic and foreign, in a way that no US citizen is affected by the actions of our governments. This is true whether one is in sympathy with the current Administration or not.

    Why get worked up about something I can’t influence? I don’t know, but doing something, even something as ineffectual as blogging, makes me feel a little better than doing nothing.

    On the question of religion, what strikes us in the UK is not so much the content of Palin’s faith (we have plenty of equally fervent believers here too), but the way she unabashedly makes it part of her campaign platform, something that is completely alien to the political process here. We tend to mistrust people who claim a higher calling when they are mixed up in the grubby business of politics.

    What’s ironic is that here, where Christianity is the official state-sponsored religion, loud proclamations of faith would be a definite barrier to election, whereas in the US, where there is a constitutional separation of church and state, devoutness of one kind or another seems to be de rigueur.

  3. Well, I guess I disagree that US citizens are unaffected by actions in other countries.

    “[Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini] spent the last few months of his exile in France, near Paris, from where he co-ordinated the revolution in January that forced the Shah of Iran to go into hiding.” [http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/february/1/newsid_2521000/2521003.stm]

    After the Iranian revolution took place, the Iranian theocracy took the entire US embassy staff hostage. Did France play a role by providing refuge to the Ayatollah? You tell me. But we love the French. And they were none to helpful in the lead in to the Iraq war. Why was there no solidarity with the US before the war? Why would Europeans not give “saber rattling” a chance? Maybe a united West would have discouraged Saddam a little. Or not. But it was worth a try.

    Why no European outrage at Russia’s invasion of Georgia? No peace marches, no rock concerts?

    Meanwhile, Britian stood by the US when other allies were dropping out of sight. I know it sure meant something to me. I am amazed to this day the way (we’re told) Britons turned against Blair for his support of the US. You think a big military power like the US didn’t appreciate the support? You’d be mistaken. Ordinary Americans appreciated it plenty.

    But your elections are still none of our business. When Spain voted for a Socialist, anti-Bush candidate, it was c’est la vie. That’s what elections in free countries are all about.

    And my blog, though it has evidently reached across the pond, it’s not aimed at you. I’m trying to persuade other Americans. It’s our election. It bugs the heck out of me that Obama took his campaign to Europe. It was the most arrogant thing I’ve seem in my lifetime.

    I think you’re wrong to think our election affects you more than yours affects us. When Brits and Europeans realize the impact they have, it will be better for everybody.

    As to religion, well I guess you’re not a Christian, but to someone who really believes in God, the idea of just leaving God at the doorstep is nonsense. That is no belief at all. At least Palin is transparent about her faith. If non-Christians find it offensive, she is not hiding it from them. They can vote their conscience.

    Anyway, Christianity has a nice political history in England. What about Milton? His Aeropagitica is the beginning of liberalism — and it’s all about belief in God and the individual conscience. That notion is at the very heart of Christianity — that individuals matter because they matter to God. Habeas corpus is another idea that’s a direct bi-product of Christianity. Christianity has always had a political role. Have Brits lost touch with their own heritage?

    Well, thank you for your answer. I’m sorry about your friend’s job. I hope he does not lose his house. But are you sure that he would be better off under an Obama administration? I don’t think any politician can guarantee us houses or jobs or should. And would you even want them to? Everything comes with a price, you know.

    I linked your site to my blog. I’m an equal opportunity linker. I’m always interested in hearing the cogent ideas of the opposition. And thanks again for replying.

    Best wishes, ANF

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