Friday, November 10, 2006

What Took You So Long, America?

Now that the dust has settled and the giddiness has subsided in the wake of this week's mid-term elections, can we talk? Because, there's one thing I just don't get. It's all fine and dandy that the American voters have finally awakened and exercised their ability to put in place some potential resistance to the Bush Administration's free rein. But, why wait until now? Did the voters have any new information this week that wasn't available two years ago when Bush was re-elected? Did some event occur to sway the vote? What's up America?

The foreign media claims that the people of America have finally started paying attention to the opinions of the rest of the world. I think they're kidding themselves. The average voter in the US doesn't think about much that's outside of US borders, let alone outside his or her daily commute. According to the US Office of Central Statistics, only 18% of Americans even have a passport! Nope, the rest of the world isn't on their radar screen, and I don't buy that any foreign opinion influenced this election. Americans didn't listen last time, and they weren't listening this time.

Others have suggested that the American people are reacting to being lied to by their government - WMDs and all that. Yet again, that's nothing that wasn't already being trumpeted as Bush was campaigning his second time around. The majority of the voting public seemed quite content to let the lies slide. The same goes for the suggestion that Americans are fed-up with a mismanaged war, or a war with corporate intent. The plan was flawed from the beginning, yet to the voters it didn't (and doesn't) seem to matter.

No, I believe that two years ago they still thought they could "win" the war (when they weren't cringing at the thought of two men kissing, that is). They didn't really have a clear vision of what "win" meant, but they figured that at least the US couldn't lose. Now, however, they realize they're not winning anything, and their troops are dropping like flies. Those troops who aren't dead are either returning home maimed, or are going bonkers. Four years of "stay the course" was somehow reasonable, but six years has finally pissed off the American public.

The most important fundamental that the Bush Administration seems to have misunderstood is that Americans don't just love their country, they love their people, too. They can only put up with seeing so many body bags returning home before they react. And react they have.