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Shift in American politics
by Thanos Kalamidas
2007-01-06 10:22:38
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So, what’s really going on in America? Is this the beginning of the end or a new era all together? When it comes to American politics we are looking at them from Europe, but there is more than an ocean separating us, This not only relates with the political system, but with understanding American society as a whole.

Looking at it from the other side of the Atlantic, American society is full of contrasts; billionaires and thousands of homeless, a country with people who believe that humanity came from Adam’s rib and others who are planning immigration to the Moon or Mars.

Often in Europe we don’t understand how politics work in USA and we find their international view very simplistic and occasionally naïve, but then as an American friend of mine said once: European politics are full of rules that make it so difficult to take any decision.

However, the shift of power in the US congress after 12 years and the Democrats taking control with a woman at the helm of the House of Representatives sounds like good news. Furthermore, in this term one representative will use the Qur’an for his vow shows that there is a new air blowing in Washington.

Europeans have always found it easier dealing with the Democrats in the administration than with the American-centred Republicans and their ‘you are with us or against us’ attitude. For the last 50 years, at least from J. F. Kennedy to Bill Clinton, the European leaders had a common ground on which to talk and an ally who could understand them and their differences.

I think, however strange it may sound, the two parties when in administration behaved towards their European partners just like two kinds of husbands. The one that wants the woman to change and become just what they are dreaming and the others who want to evolve with their spouse.

The last two American presidents have been the perfect example of the two husbands. Bill Clinton was the one who liked to do things together, respecting the wishes and the thoughts of his European partners. George W. Bush has been the exact opposite all the way. His administration has the attitude of some couple in Greece back in the 1940s and ‘50s that you often see in old photos where the husband leads the way riding his horse and the wife comes behind on feet silent carrying all the wood.

Now, what’s going to change with Nancy Pelosi becoming the speaker? From this side of the Atlantic I think…not much! Despite the power the constitution gives her, she is third in order of power after the Vice President. George W. Bush ignored millions that demonstrated, even in his own country, ignored the live and the dead, ignored every logic and did what his god tells him obviously in private and practiced his vision for his better world; why would he ever listen to what Pelosi says?

The man and his administration have shown incredible arrogance expecting just everybody in Europe to follow them and when some declined his vision for the future, naively his followers either changed the name of the fried potatoes or separated old Europe from new Europe like Americans were not coming from this old Europe but they were a virgin birth!

This is why I asked my question in the beginning. Something has changed in the American society over the last decade. This is a nation that dreams of the colonization of space and was the protagonist in the creation of the UN is ready to accept that humanity came from Adam’s rib and peace is a case of the strongest!

The beginning of the end, what end? The end of George W. Bush? Or the end of the Americas as we knew them. And if it is the beginning of a new era, what era? The era of ‘I have a dream’ or the era of the burning crosses?

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