The Hidden Danger Of The American Election

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I address myself to Australians today, though I realise that my blog does get read in Canada, the USA, and on the continent. Tag along if you wish…

Fellow Australians, you are in grave danger of throwing away your punching bag. The American Presidency has always been a convenient target for scorn and ridicule by Australians of all political persuasions – the right wing from a position of local privilege and the left from a dogged sense of loyalty to their parent’s prejudices. It has been a durable attitude, carrying the country through  the Nixon, Ford, Carter, Bush and Clinton administrations. It peaked somewhat with the younger Bush, but has been rather a thorn in the side of both the local intelligentsia and proles during the Obama reign.

Not to put it in too strong terms, but no-one here has been willing to criticise Obama about anything for the simple reason that his father was a black African. The locals here might not think much of him but cannot figure out a way to say it without firing up the press and the over-age university students. Not that the latter are much of a threat, but the sound of whining can be wearisome…

Well, now there is a danger, with the current campaign by unsuitable individuals, of getting forked into 4 more years of an even more servile silence. No-one wanted to risk criticising the coloured man and no-one will want to risk doing the same to the woman. Australians are currently gleefully bagging the male candidate and pressing as much dirt on him as they can dig up, but they have not stopped to contemplate 4 years of the other.

Not only will they have to watch incompetence and danger, they won’t even be able to be smart alecks about it. Like the delegates at a Soviet Congress in the time of Stalin, they will just have to sit here and smile and clap until their hands get sore. They won’t have a target to bray at. And all the time they are clapping the Social Thought Police will be watching to see who stops clapping first.

I should advise them to think again. It is too much to imagine that they will leave another country’s politics alone – the temptation is too great, and after all there are columns to be written, memes to be shared, and bitter little magazine articles to be written. But they may be buying a period of painful silence with their noise now.

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