AMERICAN POLITY AND INFLUENCE September 30, 2012Posted by wmmbb in US Politics.
Obviously, due to the size of its’ economy and its population, the United States has a large influence on the world potentially for good and ill.
This influence is exerted at large through incessant warfare and violence, and a pervasive cultural influence on other English speakers. We have always, regardless of cost, have always followed the empire, if not the flag, which was as true for the Malaysian Emergency as the Vietnam War, and then onward to Iraq, Afghanistan, and who knows where else. There is almost no fad that is taken up there that is not adopted here. Sport seems to be the only activity that keeps us apart. And it has always been so to my memory.The influence began earlier with the establishment of the telegraph and railways systems and with the designations of the Houses of Parliament at the time of Federation. Media, particularly films and then television have been pervasive, proving that what works in the diverse American markets has traction elsewhere.
The democratic deficit and the fictions that accompany that deficit are not always apparent to the innocent onlookers. As the current presidential election enters into the last full month in which campaigns can falter, candidates trip and the polls keenly followed, attention is focused on the lesser of two evils, and for those who can step back on the democratic system on display. These events are not foreign to us in the sense that we have always followed them. There was once a candidate for president, for example, known as Au(H2O). There are insights available now carried by the inter-tubes.
He went on to speak about “clean coal” – another euphemism. Glibness works. Perhaps Romney would be wise to keep the “gregarious” Ryan on a “leash” – and recent experiences suggests such candidates will be soon forgotten. never to grace a party political convention again.
None of the criticisms I make can match those made by the denizens. Ralph Nader makes many of the criticisms that seem to me should be made. Nader described Obama as a “war criminal” because of the drone assassination program in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and other places.
The full interview is at Patrick Gavin’s article at Politico.
The range of Ralph Nader’s criticisms do not get attention in the mass media, which is I suppose to be expected, but they are, it seems to me, valid. Obvious points are the voting system and the practice of suppressing the vote. While I acknowledge the criticism that the existing system favours the two-party duopoly, it is understandable looking at previous presidential elections when a third party candidate has done well, why they would take measures to make it difficult for third parties. It is clear that electoral reform will not come from the status quo, and that the money power will therefore continue to shape and prefigure the political landscape, extending to framing legislation.
David Swanson, for instance, argues that change will not come from voting, but requires a mass movement. The Occupy Movement has changed the terms of debate by making inequality central. One criticism of this movement is not its’ democratic processes, but that they do not result in visible leadership, although, it is said, there are leaders.
One imagines whether Obama or Romney wins in November – sometime about the running of the Melbourne Cup - dissatisfactions and policies will continue, including the drone assassinations. Then too, there is the s.1021 b(2) of the NDAA which Obama signed into law on 31 December 2011, and which a Federal Judge declared was unconstitutional. Paul Jay at the Real News in Baltimore previews the case before the Appeal Court in New York.
The problem is that once these policies are adopted in the US, despite the differences in the political system, they will often spread by the process of osmosis through the semi-permeable membrane of the media to Australia.