Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Looking in from the outside

I have a personal stake in the future of the United States. My grandson is an American. So is my son-in-law. My two daughters live there.

In another less personal way, I have a second stake in what the future holds for the USA, and that is this: I live on this planet, and what the USA does counts. It counts with everyone one of us because it is a big, wealthy country with a great deal of power. It counts in just about every way you can think of: environmentally, commercially, militarily, scientifically, etc, etc. And so I want it to have a responsible leadership - someone who thinks very carefully about of the consequences of the use of military force or of its trade policies, international relations, education policies. (In fact the weight of the responsibility that falls on the shoulders of a President of the USA is unbelievable - and I wonder why on earth anyone would actually WANT such a job...?)

So I have watched the selection of the Republican presidential candidate's running mate with appalled fascination. A man who is 72 years old with a slew of known health issues may live to be 90, sure - but the odds that he might die in office - if he is elected - are obviously higher than younger men, or men of his own age with a clean bill of health.

Now in most countries that wouldn't really matter. You'd have another election, or the second in command, someone already elected to the national governing body and probably elected to the post by his fellow party members, steps up.

In the USA it does matter. It matters a lot. Because in the USA a President who dies in office would have elected by his single vote the next President of the United States. (And you folk from the USA don't know how utterly weird and undemocratic the rest of the world thinks that is!)

When I look at Senator McCain's choice of a running mate, I am enormously fearful. Sorry, no matter how hard I look, I can't see in Sarah Palin someone who is anywhere near being qualified to be the President of the USA. Of course, it's only a remote possibility it would ever happen, but it makes me tremble already.

And, of course, I have absolutely no say in the matter.

10 comments:

Jason said...

After perusing her Wikipedia page, my reaction is that there are (many) worse choices. She's a mild variant of religious nutter, which is inevitable on the Republican side (pandering to the "faith-based community" being de rigueur). Who can tell how she would do if McCain died in office? Given the current incumbent, I'd have to say she couldn't do worse.

It's sad to think that no matter what the outcome, it's going to be better than what the US has now.

gynie said...

It does certainly matter what Usa will become, as it seems to be our old futur model, talking about France, and Europe. Or something like a past futur incoming from the past.

I'm stopping my brain right now and going back to my pencils ^^

Anonymous said...

I'd have to disagree with Jason's analysis on at least one point: Palin sued the Bush administration for listing polar bears as an endangered species, suggesting that she is even less ecologically minded than the already-frightening incumbent. (There's other evidence, too, that she's at least as bad if not worse, but that one is the most compelling point.)

I've always said that the rest of the world should have some say in American elections, given the power they wield internationally, and the worldwide impact of their policies. I console myself with the (perhaps dubious) belief that if McCain and Palin are elected, it really will be the end of the American empire, and then it won't matter so much to the rest of us what rubbish they get up to within their own borders.

-- Preeta

glenda larke said...

My point - which I maybe didn't express too well - is that it wouldn't matter what potential or how much talent Palin has, she simply doesn't at this stage have experience for what has to be the world's most responsible and toughest job.

And yet, because of factors beyond her control - McCain's age and health - and yet (always with the proviso of a McCain victory)she could find herself President theoretically within days of McCain's swearing in. I sincerely hope that doesn't happen of course.

My husband's university has twice the number of students than the whole population of the small town she was mayor of! (Not to mention faculty and staff.) And her governorship is still in it's early days.

I taught in a highschool for a couple of years. It didn't give me the experience to be the headmaster.

Peter said...

I have wondered if McCain's choice of VP was solely to attract the votes of those disillusioned by Hilary being shunned as VP by Obama.

What troubles me most is candidates and politicians who make decisions and policy to appease factions who have the power to elect them or keep them in office rather than what is best for the nation. And this is not unique to the USA.

glenda larke said...

And is that Preeta S. the author? If so, you must be thrilled to bits by the wonderful reception your novel has been getting! Congratulations!

hrugaar said...

So many people seem to have reacted badly to Palin, one wonders whether the Democrats had a hand in manoeuvering her into position as McCain's running mate.

I'd have voted for Hillary - largely based on her previous experience and political naus, and that she was the only one of the candidates I could imagine being able to hold their own against other established world leaders.

Anonymous said...

Yes, it's that Preeta :-) . Thanks! I posted a comment on an earlier post of yours as well, but I don't think you saw it. It's the post in which you responded to something I said in an interview....

Thanks again for the congrats and the publicity here!

PS

Sarah said...

It doesnt really matter who you vote for, in the end. We all know Bush didnt -really- win.

Jason said...

Now that we've got to know Sarah Palin better, I wholeheartedly agree with Glenda's original assessment: she's a terrifying choice for VP to an 82 year old candidate who's had a tough life.

Never trust anyone who believes that their ideas, motivations and judgement are directly inspired by God.