Today as my workmates surfed the net they discovered the Palin doll, an action figure based on McCain’s VP running mate. They looked to me to explain this, being the token American.
One of my younger workmates heartbreakingly asked, “You mean Obama might lose?”
How could I explain that this Palin, who could be a character out of the Simpsons– a corrupt, lying, moose-hunting, polar bear and wolf hating, anti-choice, creationist freak has actually tipped the balance of the race in McCain’s favour?
Who are the people who would now vote for McCain because this nut job is on the ticket? Who are the people yelling Drill, Baby, Drill during her acceptance speech at the Republican convention? How can I explain that I have never met these Americans. They are not my friends nor family. They must exist but they might as well be another country. Reading the coverage of the race has brought up all the old feelings of dread and frustration at my country which I no longer call home, a country I stopped believing in years ago.
Reading coverage of the election in the British press is refreshing. There is a depth and breadth of coverage denied the American people who are only reading and viewing mainstream sources. Unlike American coverage that sees the electoral mudslinging as entertainment, the British media actually discusses the candidates in terms of policies and political records. It was impossible to explain to these British co-workers that the election, in the American psychic landscape, is a battle of emotional manipulation, of branding and fear-mongering: something the Republicans know how to do better than anyone.
As we all sat looking at the Sarah Palin doll, another workmate, an obsessive autograph hunter, came to take a look. He didn’t know who she was but he hummed lasciviously, apparently liking the look of the “school girl” Palin doll. When we explained to him that she might be the next president of the US, given that McCain, if elected, could very well die in office of his heart condition or reoccurring cancer. He had another look and whistled, “But can you imagine if she signed that?”
Yeah, now you’re getting it.