Monday, November 01, 2004

American Parochialism

I have friends and family in Canada who are following our election very closely; I even know someone who's taken tomorrow off to watch all the coverage he can get on CBC and the American networks. When my wife told a couple of workmates this the almost immediate reply was, "why do they care?"

If you're reading my blog, you probably already realize that what happens here affects people all over the world. But you'd be surprised - or maybe you wouldn't - at the number of people who have no clue.

Bush has not "just" been a disaster for the United States: asleep at the wheel before 9/11, more interested in "pet goats" than attacks on the World Trade Center, building the largest deficit in history from the biggest surplus in history, starting the first preemptive war in our history... But he's been an unmitigated disaster for our country's standing in the world, our recession has affected economies and standards of living around the world, traditional allies are no longer sure that we are the beacon of hope and democracy that we've been for generations.

But so many Americans are so parochial in their outlook, never bothering to wonder at their impact on the rest of the world. It's why so many of them could care less about the environment, it's why universal health care is considered profane, why our mass transit systems are the laughing stock of the world, it's why the UN has such a low standing with so many Americans. We are a country that's become incapable of seeing beyond our own shores, beyond what is good for us now.

It's a sad indictment on the state of the electorate. Perhaps - and I say this with great sadness and a sincere hope that it is not true - perhaps it's time for the US to begin its long, slow slide into theocracy and oblivion, joining other failed experiments in government in the dustbin of history...

I think that tomorrow's outcome will be an indication of whether we can rouse ourselves from this inward stupor or if we have, indeed, begun the long decline.

No comments: