There are many stark differences between the Republican and Democratic candidates in this year’s historic American presidential election. Voters will choose between Nineteenth Century economics and a modern approach based on the realities of the 21st century, for example. They will also decide whether to embrace a post-racial era or reawaken the sorry Jim Crow past increasingly reflected in Republican rallies. And they will decide between a philosophy of attempted world domination and one of international cooperation.
John McCain and Sarah Palin offer to revive the “ugly American” of the past – a swaggering bully imposing his will abroad and fostering a white supremacist society at home. Perhaps this is why the world is watching so closely. Recent polls across the globe overwhelmingly favor Barack Obama and Joe Biden (photo at right) over McCain and Palin (photo below). Commentators, columnists and song writers all over the world proclaim their choice: Obama. Is it just because he is biracial? Does he symbolize a departure from the Aryan domination left over from past military conquests and jackboot colonization? Undoubtedly, that is a contributing factor. But there is a lot more substance than that.
Here is how Jamaica Observer columnist John Maxwell sees it:
Coupling McCain with Alaska’s toxic termagant presents a fairly terrifying vision for the rest of the world. It’s a far way from John Kennedy’s promise four decades ago that the U.S. would be a friend of people seeking freedom, to be a friend to the poor and weak. McCain and Palin present a fundamentalist and revanchist face to the world, promising an even rougher ride than George Bush. As I said eight years ago, when the United States elects a president they are also electing a kind of chief spokesman for much of a world with aspirations light years away from the parochial vision of civilisation imagined by Bush, Cheney, McCain and Palin. For the rest of us, the U.S. president, we hope, will be a singer-man for the world, one who embodies and expresses the deepest aspirations of people for liberty and dignity. Alas, we haven’t often had that, but it is why an English worldwide poll has found that the world wants Obama to win. The preference is almost 100% across countries as disparate as Norway and Saudi Arabia.
The world seems to see McCain more clearly than we do in America. The American media have either done a lousy job of informing the public or a great job of disguising McCain, depending on how you view their motivation. McCain is not a new figure to the world. His activities over the years are well known abroad, if not in the United States. As head of a subversive organization that promotes right-wing policies through intimidation and murder, he has earned the distrust of the international community. His bellicose policies also have estranged him from prudent observers everywhere. There are few politicians more hawkish than McCain and his bloodthirsty running mate.
As the election draws closer, their fangs become more frightening. They are inciting racism and xenophobia in an effort to divide and rule the American people, and cries of “Kill him!” are coming from their supporters. The shadow of the noose hangs over their rallies and the sound of hooves at midnight echo in their speeches.
Observers around the world are shrinking from this attempt to evoke a repugnant aspect of America’s past. It is up to American voters to show that our country has progressed far beyond those days and is a force to be welcomed by the international community – not one to be loathed and feared.