Friday, October 03, 2008

Notes from the US of A

1. In the first presidential debate and the first (and only) vice-presidential debate, it is interesting to see how candidates have to tap into specific terms. Sarah Palin's audience ratings climb when she repeatedly talked about "our freedoms." What freedoms, Governor? (Or should that be Governess?) Let's talk about the Patriot Act, why don't we? Let's talk about women's freedom to choose. Let's talk about gay people's right to marry (yes, marry, not have a civil union - although, to be fair, Biden doesn't support gay marriage either).

2. I don't get all the talk about women's preference for Palin. This is the woman who is not just personally "pro-life" (which, incidentally, is the most ridiculous term), but who wishes to inflict her beliefs, her CHOICES, on ALL women, to take away their right to choose for themselves. You could almost turn this issue into a mobius strip.

3. Palin talks about how America can't allow Iran (Eye-Ran) to develop "nucular" energy or weapons. I'm as alarmed about nuclear proliferation around the world as any sane person, but excuse me, who exactly is America (A-My-Ri-Ca?) to decide who can or can't do something? And by the way, while on the subject of foreign policy and diplomacy (or coercion, as the case may be), shouldn't American politicians - indeed, politicians around the world - be made to, at least, pronounce the names of the countries they talk about correctly?

4. It IS interesting (as Amit Verma pointed out in India Uncut) that a politician in America has to be, or at least pretend to be, a "believer". No atheists allowed here. Abandon hope, all ye who enter here. Pick up your faith at the door, however. (Aside: I suspect that in India, candidates' faith is not always explicitly investigated, but is none-the-less assumed. Perhaps this should be considered a factor in any study on the level of progress and democracy in a country: would the populace vote for a non-believer?)

5. Freudian slip by Palin in the last few minutes of the debate, while talking about McCain: "He is the man who needs to leave" (quickly ammended to "he is the man who needs to lead.") Well said, Governor, I couldn't have put it better myself.

6. I love Palin's self-congratulatory "we're the mavericks", as though she has been bucking trends her whole life instead of clinging to her guns and religion!

7. Why was this woman selected, again? Is this a sign of McCain's senile dementia?


Ricercar said...

duh! because she is a WOMAN, why else!!! Does'nt matter what her record on anything is, does it?

Arijit said...

ei progga...great post!! arijit

progga said...

Prero, interesting that originally she was probably brought in as a bid to woo women. Now she woos men!

Arijit: I have no idea which Arijit this is, but thank you anyway. The levels of farce in these elections have to be seen to be believed, and with the Palin nomination, my cup runneth over.

Pooja said...

Lol, Progga, well said.

More than ever, this election underscores this major dichotomy between the thinkers and the feelers in the US populace.

Still, some of it boggles the mind, doesn't it....

progga said...

Pooja! lovely to hear from you. Yes, this election is at best, amusing, at worst, bizarre!

Shonedeep said...

This comment pertains to point 4) of your post about faith and Indian politicians.
While "faith" seems to be under more scrutiny these days especially since the rise of the Hindu Right (an oxymoron at its sublime best), it is also perhaps pertinent to remember that some Indian political parties are very categorically atheistic. The Communists (CPI, CPI(M), RSP, FB) appear to follow the teachings of a man who famously described religion as the opiate of the masses. The DMK is very categorically an atheistic party (remember their support to the NDA was described as the coming together of the "god-less" and the...well, I suppose "god-fearing" parties. Further, radical Dalit politics have continuously critiqued the Bramhinical hegemony of and in Hinduism. Mayawati calls these the manuvadis.
Finally, the Indian Prime Minister (or council of ministers or the members of Parliament) do not, at the end of their oaths of service, say "so help me God." A small point, but one with a rather big import I think. In fact, the Indian Constitution allows for two kinds of oaths. One that explicitly says - I don't remember the exact words but it goes something like this: "I swear by the name of God (mein ishwaar dwaara shapath leta hoon)." Importantly, the other variety goes: "I solemnly affirm." No mention of God there and thank God for that.

progga said...

Good point, S - perhaps living in the US for so long has eroded my memory of non-religious parties and credos.