Wednesday, November 7, 2012

On having an opinion about the US election

The polling is closing in the US Presidential election as I write this, and I'm going about my day here in Melbourne, Australia, playing with my daughter, doing laundry, baking for the school bake sale, paying bills ... and refreshing the ABC's election coverage every fifteen minutes, stomach clenching as I hope, hope, hope to see a spreading wave of blue on my screen.

I've followed this election from a few months out - it really started to hit my radar as more and more Republicans were being publicised for their comments on reproductive rights, healthcare, and rape. (This then became a steady stream of "what the..." moments in the past two months in particular). These have helped me to form a very strong view on what the outcome of this election should be, much stronger than any opinion I've ever held about the politics of another country. It's this: I want Obama to win, mostly because I really, REALLY hope Romney loses.

I am an Australian, and although I have studied US history, I've never lived there for longer than a semester, and I don't pretend to understand all the cultural nuances or lived experience of USians. I also understand that I do not get either a vote nor a voice in the US landscape, and that's fair enough.

But I also understand two other things. The first is that it's legitimate to have a view about foreign politics when they have human rights implications, and I completely believe that in this case, they do. Non-nationals have views on murderous regimes, restrictive philosophies, and environments that are inimical to women, children, or ethnic equality. It's not only appropriate, I'd argue it's necessary, that we are allowed to engage theoretically and emotionally with what happens beyond our borders.

Secondly, US politics affects Australia in many direct and indirect ways. As an ally, we are dragged into conflicts on the US's coat-tails. Our economy, while no longer just linked to the US, feels knock-on effects from decisions made there. And our our political discourse is informed and shaped by what happens in the US, especially given the dominance of USian culture in our entertainment and news zeitgeist.

So I will wear the cross scolding of people on Twitter telling me off for having an opinion about this election. (Notably, it's people whose opinion differs from mine who object, so I suspect it's not the having of an opinion, but the opinion I have, that they find objectionable). I won't desist from thinking, hoping, worrying and voicing those feelings about this election.

I HOPE BARACK OBAMA WINS. Make of that what you will.

This is post 7 in NaBloPoMo. 7 down, 23 to go!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Kathy,
    Firstly thank you for visiting my blog and keeping it real (and not personal) with your comments.

    Now on the US elections, I agree - there's a real flow on to Australia - but I think that in the future, we'll need to be paying just as much attention to Chinese and Indian politics :)

    Interesting times!