Eleven and a half years ago I, along with millions of people in the UK, stayed awake to hear who had become the President of the USA. At about 3 a.m. I was delighted to hear that it was Barack Obama who had been elected. A fine man, a caring man, an intelligent man, a reasonable man and a reasoning man. On top of all that he was of colour in a Country where racial disparity and violence is more pronounced than anywhere else in the developed world. He was never defined by his colour but by his quality and integrity.
Eight years later I despaired as the USA, through an electoral system that is as flawed as ours in THE UK elected a Presidents whose morals were loathsome; his intellect limited and his attitudes fatally flawed. I have not been surprised to see how much the USA has deteriorated in that time but I have been bitterly disappointed at just how low a Country with which we should have close ties has sunk.
The coronavirus has made things hugely worse. The President has:
- Claimed that his instincts about science were better than those of his medical and scientific advisers;
- Claimed that the coronavirus was a Chinese virus;
- Claimed that the coronavirus was an invention of the Democrats;
- Claimed that the Coronavirus was under control after just one case;
- Claimed that the highly respected World Health Organisation is under Chinese control and withdrawn all America money from it;
- Suggested that we should try a drug which has no real ability to control the virus and which has dangerous side effects;
- Suggested that we should inject bleach (which kills 99.9% of all known germs);
- Should shine an ultra violet light inside our bodies (no I don’t know how either!!);
- Has encouraged people to demonstrate against the health advice which he had issued;
- Started a trade war with the other major power – China;
- Failed to condemn protestors who went into a State Capitol with rapid fire weapons.
As you all well know this list is not exhaustive and could be considerably longer. Meanwhile his administration is floundering in how to deal with the virus and many other issues. The House has passed to the Senate more than 400 bills which have not been considered. The President doesn’t seem to care.
When danger threatened in Washington the President whose bravery was well known – he was the one who dodged the draft because of bone spurs – scuttled off to hide in the basement of the White House while bravely threatening to set the dogs on protestors.
I’m not American so why do I care about this? Americans used to claim that the President of the USA was the President of the ‘Free World”. During the Cold War there was an element of truth to this claim. As two super-powers the USA and Russian squared up to each other the West needed a Leader. If such a title were to be bestowed now it would probably be conferred on Angela Merkel of Germany. But American is still a very important country. It dominates not through force of intellect; moral persuasion or military might but because of its industry and commerce.
Most people use Apple products or use American IT to talk to each other through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram whose ownership is America and whose profits go …. Who knows but are certainly taken out of the Countries like the UK where they are made. Those companies have a huge reach into the rest of the world. You might buy an Apple product but it was probably made in China. You might buy an American TV but it will probably have been made in Mexico.
American influence is declining in most fields but it is still huge and what happens in and crucially from America has a huge effect of the rest of the World. Right thugs like Putin and Bolisaro of Brazil just love the strong man with the flawed intellect. He encourages thugs and right wing protests globally. Many of us believe that the true spirit of the American people is kindness and concern. Most of us see that the current portrayal of the USA is because of its leadership – Trump and his ilk – as being irreconcilably based on the work and words of its Commander in Chief.
As a democrat I would not dream in interfering in another Country’s election. However, that does not mean that I should not stand by and keep quiet about an election which will affect this Country. With Prime Minister Buffon wanting to work closely and have a trade agreement with President Bunker what happens over there will have a real impact over here. If Americans want my opinion, and I do have a lot of American readers of this blog, I am happy to give it.
We can only watch and hope that the American electorate will come to their senses and elect Joe Biden as President. If that happens the USA will, once again, be able to stand four square alongside other Western and Eastern democracies. Its Leader will be able to attend meetings of global leaders without them openly mocking him