Bring It On!

The US of A pathy

June 13th, 2008 | by Jet Netwal |

Pew released a great report today. I’m still digesting it, but this jumped out at me. Despite the huge uptick in voter registration, the rock star crowds turning out to see Obama, the invigoration at precinct level of Dems thanks to the 50 State Strategy and the DFA, and the overall national desire for new leadership, we are STILL… lazy about our democracy.

There is considerable interest in the presidential campaign in the surveyed countries. A large majority of Japanese say they are following the election very closely (24%) or somewhat closely (59%). As a point of comparison, a third of Americans are following the election very closely, with another 47% saying they are tracking the campaign somewhat closely. — Pew

That’s 83% total for Japan, 80% for the USA. Our economies are closely tied, so I can see why Japanese citizens would take an interest in us, even an equal interest.

At least half or more of respondents in such countries as Germany, Australia, Great Britain and Jordan are closely following the election. There is less interest in the election in many other countries, including France, where 40% are focusing on the campaign, Mexico (33%) and Spain (25%).  — Pew

Ok, back up the truck, Jack. 33% of Americans are closely following this election while 40% of the French are? 50% or more of Germany, Australia, Great Britain and Jordan? Are you seeing the disconnect here?

People around the world who have been paying attention to the American election express more confidence in Barack Obama than in John McCain to do the right thing regarding world affairs. McCain is rated lower than Obama in every country surveyed, except for the United States where his rating matches Obama’s, as well as in Jordan and Pakistan where few people have confidence in either candidate. — Pew

So McCain is making a stand in the “Die American Bastards, Die!” global arena, while the ENTIRE REST OF THE WORLD sees Obama as the more capable leader. Could it be that he articulates his positions in an intelligent, thoughtful way? Could it be the world is ready for American leadership that leads instead of blasts? That articulates instead of smirks? One that is evenhanded instead of hot headed? One that, God forbid, listens as well as talks?

Gee, ya think?

Obama’s advantage over McCain is overwhelming in the Western European countries surveyed: Fully 84% of the French who have been following the election say they have confidence in Obama to do the right thing regarding world affairs, compared with 33% who say that about McCain. The differences in ratings for Obama and McCain are about as large in Spain and Germany, and are only somewhat narrower in Great Britain.  — Pew

Ok, I’ll probably take some heat for this stereotype, but when have 84% of the French agreed on anything? France is a country steeped in the art of passionate argument. Frankly, I’m impressed Obama can pull 84% of the French into a unified opinion. Think what he could do for the USA; it boggles the mind.

So why are McCain and Obama so close in this country? I think a couple of factors play here. First is that change is not a quick animal. Panic, yes. Panic is fight or flight. If we run aground into a Depression, you’ll see panic as modus operandi. Change, however, is a choice, and in a country this size, it takes awhile for a change that is happening house to house, mind to mind, heart to heart, to actually manifest itself in a measurable way. This is why the 50 State Strategy is working, because it casts info, resources and inspiration wide.

The second reason McCain is seen as close to Obama is the media. To paraphrase J. K. Rowling, the media exists to sell itself. They need a horse race, and by God, they’ll massage the news to give us one. The emergence of independent media on the internet, which is coming into its own at the same time the 50 State Strategy is bearing fruit, blunts some of the MSM fluff.

It’s not that I think Americans are going to reject the MSM as much as notice that what they read on the internet doesn’t match what they saw on ABC, and the stuff on the internet linked to sources they also read, which linked to other stuff, and so on. Weaning ourselves from media drivel is to embrace independent thinking, and while we are not there yet, it IS the direction we are headed. That slow choice for change is a done deal. Like the music industry, media is forgetting who drives the bus.

Americans, on the other hand, need to get back in the democracy game and start driving OUR bus. Reinvesting in an observant, conversational and engaged approach to our political clime is critical. The real loser in allowing political factions and the media to divide us for their own gain is us. We don’t have the luxury of disliking each other, because we really do need each other. Disagree, sure. Argue? Absolutely. I’ve said many times, this country was founded on an argument, and we’ve been arguing ever since. (So French, no?)

What we can no longer afford is to be conned together. The days of easy provocation are toast. Face it, we ALL love this country. We all have a stake in her prosperity, her image in the world, and her ability to demonstrate viable democracy. Beyond that, we have a stake in electing reasoned leadership that stops the Iraq war money pit, ends the three card monty game with our constitutional rights, and refocuses our resources on improving American life quality, opportunity and prosperity. The way we protect that stake is simple.

Pay attention, and get involved. Apathy is so 2004

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