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unsolicited opinion #14368

since i don't live there, i try very hard not to care about american politics. i try not to pay too much attention, because i frankly find it depressing. however, with the country's pre-eminent position in the world and given my instinctual interest in the political, i do get caught up some times.

having just returned from a business trip to one of those parts of america that i would otherwise never go, i have just been subjected to a fearsome amount of political "reporting" on their major "news" networks. and what are they talking about? john kerry's stupid comments about (depending on who you believe) george bush or american soldiers.

i'm trying to wrap my head around this. america's economy has slid in the last years and is completely ill-equipped to deal with the realities of global markets of the near future. they are embroiled in a war that is costing them billions of dollars, thousands of lives and whatever international good will they had maintained to date. they have prominent members of their government facing criminal and civil charges. and according to their "news" media, the most important issue in the current electoral campaign is whether or not a failed presidential candidate thinks the people in the nation's army are smart or not?

let me simplify this: prominent u.s. politicians are generally drawn from the upper classes, educated at schools and possessing employment backgrounds that are beyond the dreams of the vast majority of their citizens. they have no direct knowledge of the challenges faced by most of their constituents. they are not representative of the make-up of the country in any sense- economic, racial, gender, anything. so why the big surprise that one of them holds a large class of his own constituents in contempt? does kerry think of the mass of americans- soldiers or not- as proletarian dullards? probably, in his own mind, yes. guess what? so does bush, in all likelihood.

and the most unfortunate thing is that, rather than becoming politically engaged in arenas where they might actually make a difference, most people are content to sit back and keep electing the same over-privileged, out of touch, sanctimonious crowd every two years. and what does that say about the people who are electing them? (and i'm aware that canada isn't a whole lot better.)

anyway, no matter what happens on tuesday, and there seem to be a number of ballot initiatives that deserve attention in different districts, the people who are elected are going to look a lot like the ones who are there now. and until there is some change that starts from the mass of people who politicians represent, american politics is going to continue to be a pretty depressing thing.

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