The US Election – The Way It Looks From Here

The presidential election in the US is less than two weeks away. And I am looking forward to the 7th of November, after which there will be no more obnoxious mud-slinging party ads on the tube for Americans to switch off.

Of course, not being a prophet I can’t foresee the outcome; I only know how I want it to look. I have the advantage of living far away from the land of unlimited opportunity. (That’s how most Germans consider America. I am personally not so sure this estimation is justified.)  I consider the distance from Germany to the US shores quite useful at this stage of the four-year electoral cycle as it’s a lot less noisy. And the draught from all that excessive flag-waving could lead to serious infections. A girl could catch her death.

Since I haven’t lived in the States for forty years, I am not registered to vote anywhere. (Where would I/could I register?) I am basically disenfranchised. So for years I could only shudder at the US voters’ choice. (God, they elected G.W! Twice!!??) Until they finally did something rational and elected Barack Obama.

They idolized Obama, dumped Herculean tasks on him. The agenda was, for the mere mortal that he is, something – not even a Republican – could have mastered.  And just to make sure he failed, the Republicans blocked his progress at every turn. Now they wave their flags and blame him for the mess the country marched into during the eight years of G.W.’s  reign.

Hearing the opinions of some of those flag-wavers on the nightly news made me feel embarrassed to admit I’m a US citizen. For the first time since I left the country so long ago, I have started wondering why I keep my American passport. Maybe it’s time to consider German citizenship. At least I could vote.

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13 Comments

Filed under Politics

13 responses to “The US Election – The Way It Looks From Here

  1. William J. Marble

    Hi Debbie,

    Politics is surely a fool’s domain. I long ago realized that 90% or more of the government’s actions go on behind closed doors and we never know of them…thus how can we know if they were good or bad? Further, the men and women seeking office do so for personal gain in power and wealth. Only a fool would try and tackle the real problems of governing 300 million people and being the leader of the free world.

    Throw in the fact of the insane Electoral College system which throws away the votes of almost half of the people and you have a system which is ripe for overthrow.

    Several elections ago I decided that, since my vote would be thrown away, I would at least vote for my favorite person. Thus, for many years, when the presedential election comes around I write-in William J. Marble!

    Bill

    • Hi Bill,
      I didn’t realize you were a candidate otherwise I’d have found some way to register to vote! But would you really want the job? Seriously, something has to be done about that electoral college. I have no illusions about the possibility of achieving true democracy, but that old system set up for an illiterate and agrarian society 235 years ago really needs to be tossed out. Thanks for your comments. Debbie

      • William J. Marble

        Certainly I do not want the job, but I am not in fear of getting elected. I refuse to vote for the fools who are nominated (both of them) and my vote will be thrown away anyhow. So why not vote for myself.

  2. Sue

    You may be thankful you are far, far away from the US shores – and I understand your frustration and distaste for all the hoopla. Most Americans would agree with you. BUT, please do not under any circumstances ever seriously consider foresaking your citizenship. We have both studied more than our share of history – and it is only fair to say that ALL republics – good, bad, and otherwise – have their glut of holy roller politicians who bluster along whether or not it is an election year. And yes, we Americans have put into office a few DUDs…but the vast majority of American governments have set a pretty high standard of performance when compared to most other countries around this big globe. From our founding fathers to our floundering current administration, for the most part, I truly believe that we have still set a pretty high standard for responsible government – and one from which a vast majority of the world’s population has benefitted. And, like it or not, I’ll be out there waving my flag whenever the occasion calls for it. I LOVE THE USA – and could never imagine leaving it for any other country on this Earth. I hope in your heart you are not serious about abandoning the Land of your Birth.
    Your Big Sister

    • Sue,
      Don’t worry, I’m far too lethargic to take on the task of renouncing my US citizenship and applying for German. However, it would make sense. I have lived in Germany for the better part of 40 years without a vote. The fault is mine, not this country’s. It is the responsibility of a resident to participate in national, political culture and I’ve given it away. But I can open my mouth and express opinions as I intend to do here.
      Thanks for commenting, Debbie

      • Raymond Gann

        Is dual citizenship possible for you ? This is what I have and I feel this is a fair reflection of who I think I am (er… someone who likes having and eating cakes)

  3. Raymond, I’m told that the Americans wouldn’t have a problem with the dual cit-thing, but the Germans would.

  4. Raymond Gann

    Because the dual cit-thing is the default route for EU citizens.

    • …And it’s a great way to default! However, my daughter has checked into the situation, being that she has American and British citizenship. She was told the Germans would insist on her relinquishing her US citizenship. Schade eigentlich!

  5. Raymond Gann

    Looking at the usual red/blue US election maps in the light of the highly polemical and bitter campaign, I often wonder if history did not take the wrong turn in 1776. The United States is split between a rugged Republican interior imbued with a frontier spirit (however paradoxical that might sound) and a coastal but highly populated Democratic fringe. Interestingly enough this fringe which in the eyes of Republicans is a bastion of European type social democracies comprises 10 of the 13 colonies (including the home of the Tea Party) who rose up against the British Crown.
    The irony is further compounded by the fact that Britain had saved the North American colonies in the course of the real First World War (otherwise known as the Seven Years War or even the French a Indian Wars) from Louis XV ‘s French socialism. Britain’s attempt to recoup some of its substantial outlay by getting the stingy beneficiaries to cough up was a major factor in unleashing the subsequent insurgency. The US had a similar experience in the First Gulf War.
    It is painful for Britons to witness US politicians trying to evade the bullet of being accused of imposing “European solutions”. Britons to share this dread of not wanting to be seen to be seen snuggling up to anything that might be construed as being European. Yet they cannot help remembering that the Founding Fathers were prepared to foreswear their principles and enlist the support of future Euro stalwarts such as France, Spain and the Low Countries to temporarily usurp Britain’s Maritime supremacy.
    However there is a solution out there. Given their geographical proximity to their ideological soul-mates north of the Great Lakes would it not make sense for the East Coast red states to secede from the Union and join Canada. The new entity could enter into some kind of confederal union with the European Union using a common currency called say the “Loonie Euro”. The residual red states in acknowledgement of their major groupings could be called “Nuevo Dixie”

    • Sue Sykes

      Now I know you’re being facetious! Are you having fun yet? S.

      • I’m having a ball. One thing I must set straight though, Sue. I know you feel I was too hard on American patriotism and flag-wavers, however, there’s a huge difference between flag-waving in an election campaign setting where the symbol is being misused to garner votes and the honoring soldiers who have laid down their lives in any war in any country on this planet. They deserve to have a flag waved for their sacrifice by the citizens of which ever country they fought for. The services that took place yesterday in the US, Britain and wherever else on 11.11 are an imperative.

    • I like your line of thinking, Raymond. I’m not so sure it would float in the US – not even on the east coast! I also like the idea of the “loonie euro”. The national anthem would then have to be a loonie tune.

      But in a more serous vein, I see the accumulation of Democratic states on both coastlines (excluding the southeast Dixie states!) as evidence that those citizens more in contact with the outside world are also inclined to be more liberal and forward thinking. Whether that really washes, I’m not sure. For NYC, the home of business with a capital B, you’d expect would tend to be Republican. But that doesn’t seem to carry enough weight in recent years to tip New Youk State into the Republican camp come presidential election time. The state is also currently governed by a Democratic governor, Andrew Cuomo; NYC is run by 3-time mayor Mike Bloomberg – of Big Business fame – who, according to Wiki, started as a Democrat, but switched to the Republican party to run for mayor in 2001. The he left that party and has been twice reelected as an independent. Party labels don’t seem able to contain the man.(At the latest right now, anyone who might grant me a few minutes of their time to read my blog and the comments will have discovered how well I use Google search functions!)

      Another comment on political party/philosphy labels: It disturbs me that anyone with any opinions slightly to the left of the American Democratic Party are decried as Socialists, or even Communists. I wish those souls would also learn to use Google search and take a minute to look up what those terms actually mean.

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