Wednesday, November 7, 2012

What’s Wrong With You, Europe?

by Madeleine Kando

Why are you not more excited about Obama’s re-election? Are you that self-centered that you only look at what the American presidency means to Euro-American relations? Why are you not as excited as I am about America’s narrow escape from a fall into the abyss of a Romney/Ryan/Ayn Rand world?

Are you taking your own social-democratic privileges that much for granted that you don’t see how huge this victory is for America?Here is a sample of what a Romney America would have looked like: The Dodd Frank Act (regulation of Wall Street) would have been repealed. We might have seen an overturn of Roe v. Wade, declaring abortion illegal throughout the land. We more than likely would have seen the dismantling of Obamacare. Funding for clean energy would have been vastly reduced. Potential appointment of extra conservative judges. An across the board 20% tax cut, meaning that the rich would have gotten a lot richer.

During the presidential debates, Romney accused Obama of trying to turn America into Europe. It was meant as Euro bashing but you should regard it as a compliment. You can thank your lucky stars that Romney has now disappeared from the political scene. There will be many who will want to step in his shoes, but for now we have been spared a fate worse than death.

Don’t pretend that you are not a living a little vicariously. When America votes, the world watches. The glitz and glamour, the obscene amount of money spent on the campaign must be fascinating to watch, like the Bread and Circus games during Roman times. If you were a bit more in tune, you would realize that the average American is trying to make things work within a pretty screwed up election framework.

The winner take all two-party system makes for quite a spectacle. Somehow it works in such a big country. The best gesture of solidarity that I have found was in an American-themed restaurant in Paris. As millions of voters were lining up at the ballot box here, the restaurant was holding a poll of its own. It was inviting diners to choose their favorite candidate by ordering an “Obama burger” or a “Romney omelet.” The Romney omelet was advertised as ‘sans rien’, (plain omelet, i.e. nothing inside). That is a very apt analogy to the real Romney. I know what I would have ordered. Unfortunately, they never did make the result of their polling public.

So I do not agree with your papers when they say that ‘Whoever takes the White House in the next four years, it’s all the same for Europe’. It does and should matter to Europe. 

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