Home > Politics and Society > Race to the Bottom: Thoughts on the GOP Presidential Elections (Part One)

Race to the Bottom: Thoughts on the GOP Presidential Elections (Part One)

February 25, 2012 Leave a comment Go to comments

The full title of this article, actually, would’ve probably gone something along the lines of “Race to the Bottom: Thoughts on the GOP Presidential Election and the Sociopolitical State of the United States (Part One)”, but I decided to spare WordPress’ URL system from such a taxing name.

I rarely make it a secret that I’m not exactly very impressed by the 2012 elections for the next president of the United States. Actually, if you think about it, it rather resembles a rather poorly-done MTV show (in the manner of all MTV shows) involving spoiled, rich, suburban South Californian teenage girls doing their utmost to out-brat each other on national television for their sweet sixteen by making the most outlandish, offensive comments as possible. Not having watched MTV with anything approaching regularity, I naturally do not know whether or not this concept has actually been explored before on MTV, but I suspect it would not be terribly different from the current presidential elections that we’re seeing, and probably a whole lot more entertaining, if only by the virtue that the audience is not terrified by the idea that one of these persons may eventually win and become the president of the United States.

Snark aside, though, it occurs to me that this is not completely unexpected in modern America. After all, taking a look at the news lately, and especially from comments reflecting the news, we can see continued contempt that borders on racism (or reflect genuine racism). Conservatives continue to describe all Mexicans as lazy leeches who abuse every loophole to stay in the United States illegally. Syrians are dismissed as just another non-Israeli Middle Eastern people, and therefore ignored because they’d just “prop up another Islamic regime and turn on America”. And perhaps what’s a little funny is the utter outrage following Obama’s “apology” (which was, by the way, not quite an apology, but a letter of condolences) to the Afghan president over the accidental burning of the Quran, prompting more than a few commenting individuals to label Obama as guilty of “treason”, and that he’s constantly “apologizing for America”, thereby making him “un-American”, a sign that he “hates America”.

That last point has me thinking a bit. Disregarding the fact that the letter wasn’t formally an “apology” – I’m quite ready to forgive most Americans over hyperbole and ignorance of details, because we’d really get nowhere otherwise – I wonder precisely what it is, save Republican propaganda, that somehow makes “apologizing” such a heinous act against one’s own state. I do believe that such violent demonstrations over the burning of texts is rather silly (then, again, I’m not particularly religious and don’t hold symbols to be particularly sacred), but of greater concern is where our moral compass has gone, now that we’ve deemed apologies – to act of acknowledging and owning up to our mistakes – a moral failure worthy of “treason”. Whereas we once acknowledged that apologies require great amounts of courage, we now seem to equate the act with something worthy of a Quisling.

Then, again, seeing where the criticism is coming from, I suppose this isn’t too surprising. After all, the first to criticize this gesture came from a man who divorced two wives (the first of whom was being treated on a hospital bed for cancer at the time) after cheating on both of them; ironically, Gingrich was also attempting to have Bill Clinton impeached for the Monica Lewinsky sex scandal at the time. And let’s not give him all the credit: Our other delightful candidates include a man who woke up this morning in denial that we live in the 21st century, and is on an active agenda to throw society back to the 5th century BCE, especially in regards to issues of gender and sexuality (Santorum), a man who apparently has strong ties with white supremacist groups, wants to pull the U.S. out of the UN and NATO, and otherwise has very “interesting” ideas on how to fix the economy (Paul); and a politician who, frankly, will switch his position on issue whenever it’s convenient, but will largely be opposed not on a matter of principles, but on the matter that he’s a Mormon (Romney). Isn’t this a great election?

Well, no, not really, I suppose. Hence why I said it was a poorly-produced MTV shows about spoiled, rich, suburban South Californian teenage girls doing their utmost to out-brat each other on national television (although I’m in no way implying that the presidential candidates resemble spoiled, rich, suburban South Californian teenage girls, because that would honestly be scary): From a dramatic perspective, there just isn’t enough tension. The 2008 elections were great fun to watch because of what victories could’ve represented: The first female U.S. president, the first female vice-resident (which, as McCain found out to his expense, turned out to be a not-so-great idea that was eventually immortalized into a Saturday Night Live skit), and the first African-American president, all of whom largely scraped close victories out of the clutches of defeat. Yet for these 2012 elections, I cannot help but wonder if the Republicans are trying to select the slowest car possible from a junkyard to compete against the current reigning champion of the race.

Then, again, as I read news articles regarding Republicans criticizing “taxpayer money going into useless science like CERN’s Hadron Collider” (which the U.S. government has nothing to do with, seeing how CERN is in Switzerland and the LHC is on the border between Switzerland and France), I realize it may not be such a wonder after all.

Categories: Politics and Society
  1. February 25, 2012 at 13:38

    It really is rather a cruel joke, this whole GOP candidacy race. My husband is convinced that the only reason any of them ran was to plug their books (perhaps with the exception of Ron Paul but he could never get the candidacy). Only 3 times in the entire history of the United States has the voting public ever unseated the incumbent. These guys know that Obama is going to win so no one with a serious hope (or chance) of winning against him has bothered to run. It would be a waste of a campaign.

    Also, “silly” isn’t really the word I would use for the “accidental burning” of 4 Qurans (which were confiscated from prisoners who were using them to send each other messages – also note that writing in a Quran is tantamount to Islamic Blasphemy) by US troops. Over 20 people were killed in rioting over burning some ink and paper that certain people hold in reverence. I think abhorrent and ridiculous might be more apt. Even the apology wasn’t enough for those who were offended. You know what? The rioters should be apologising for the lives lost. The US made a stupid mistake but the rioters did so much worse.

    • February 25, 2012 at 18:30

      I think the issue I take fault with regarding the Quran burning is not the belief that deaths over religious texts is appalling – because I think it truly is reprehensible – but that the reactions of the Western world is so horrendously overblown. Yes, that people are dying over an accident involving something so trivial is foolish, but our response does not seem to be much better than what is being offered to us. Just because their reactions are driven by fundamentalism does not mean that we have to stoop do such a standard. And, more than anything else, what I do largely find amusing in a resigned way is that the expression of condolences from Obama is being used as political ammunition. How does a simple letter saying “we regret these mistakes have happened” translate into treason?

      • March 4, 2012 at 01:07

        Aye, there’s the rub. There are people in the USA who honestly and sincerely believe that Obama is a secret Muslim who wants to destroy the US from the inside out. They will take anything they can get as a confirmation of that belief – be it a bland and standard diplomatic apology for a mistake made by the US military or the fact that he didn’t mention the Christian God in his Thanksgiving day address. These are the same misguided people who state that: “America was founded on Christian values.” which is in absolutely no way true.

        And I don’t blame Obama for apologising – it was the logical thing to do. If you’re dealing with illogical people who hold fanatical beliefs, who have weapons and are not shy about using them on anyone – including the people you are charged with protecting and leading – then you’re going to say whatever they want to hear to stop them from killing more people.

        If by lowering themselves to that level you meant the media reaction then, well, I’m surprised you don’t realise that the US media is entirely driven by sensationalism and not in existence to inform people of facts without bias or slanted opinions.

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