Sunday, 19 October 2008

The American Dream?

I watched the last of the American Presidential Debates yesterday - not live you understand, but in replay. It was my first real chance to see the candidates presenting themselves...

It was shocked by the huge difference in how the candidates came across. McCain commented several times on Obama's rhetoric - but to my ears Obama stuck to lucidly explaining what he wanted to do and why it was important for America to do it.

McCain was the one I thought lacked substance, making fine claims and aiming at an emotional appeal - trying to demonise his opponent as a liberalist wanting to steal money from the people to waste on public programmes - spreading muck about Obamas links with terrorism - and painting himself as the champion of the American dream. He made more than one reference to Sarah Palins special understanding and interest in those poor families dealing with autistic children - which crudely put is trying to get sympathy votes out of her personal circumstances.

He also made a great play on his record of fighting against the establishment and vested interests - very laudable - but I was left with the impression that this meant would struggle to unite his own party under his leadership, never mind leading the nation.

At times he looked frail - and at times he reminded me of one of those wind up monkeys. Asked a specific question he'd reply with some stock sound bite he'd prepared beforehand - something completely off subject.

It was, to put not too fine a point on it, scary to think that this was someone that could end up sitting down to negotiate with leaders in China, Russia or Iran.

The sad part was that behind the guff it's clear that he actually has been active in pushing for what he sees as good for his country.. and not just toed the line.

Obama.... pretty much stuck to presenting his platform of policies and defending the flack launched from across the table... He was probably too kind.
McCains policies will put more money in the pockets of 30 million Americans - the other 270 million will be better off under the Democrats...

The American dream - means aspiring to be part of that rich clique of 30 million... and for that it seems that half the electorate are willing to ignore the fact that they are not part of that small minority that are taking the cream. The ironic part is that getting rich is about redistributing wealth to the small number that succeed. Does the personal avarice of the American dream really mean people don't want to see the rest of the population get a decent education and the security and reassurance of good health care?

And for me it is somewhat ironic that the party that stands proud of that avaricious dream is the same party so warmly supported by all those evangelical Christians.

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