L E M O N W O R L D      R A N T


By Jonathan Lemon
24 November 2004

The mass recounts and the lawsuits never came. There were few riots or protests. The allegations of polling irregularities have been kept out of the media and tucked away on the websites of the loony leftist conspiracy theorists. It seems that everyone is resigned to four more years of Bush.

Now that acquiescence is setting in and the post election depression is being met by many with political “Prozac” the question that still lingers is “why?”. Why were so many people fooled? Are they just plain stupid? Surely not, in America where we have one of the highest standards of education in the world. Then maybe fear? But here’s where I get confused. Yes the media goes over the top to bring you the latest shock and awe crime stories. The daring break-ins, the Satan-worshiping teenagers, the violent rapes, the five-year olds with automatic handguns, the old folk who have their life-savings taken from them by devious con-men and of course that international terrorist attack.

But Mr. & Mrs. Bush-voter from the red states never see these things. They live in nice quiet suburbia with their grain silos and John Deere tractors. They may have lost their jobs or had their sons enlist for military service but these are exactly the sort of people who voted for Bush. Yes, the nice white regular guy who get’s his orders from God and who just wants to protect American values (whatever they may be) and keep things the way they’ve always been. They probably have never been to a blue state in their lives and of course ironically it’s the blue states with the high crime rates, the ones with the Satan-worshiping teenagers, the five-year olds with automatic handguns and the International terrorist attacks.

It’s a different kind of fear that made Mr. & Mrs. Bush-voter crave 1461 days of Dubya. A fear of anything different. They’ve seen it on their TV sets. Black people. Gay people. Latinos. Women with jobs who enjoy sex. People not like them or anyone they know. People who are different and threaten their entire belief system. Women should be in the home raising children and tatting. They’ve had to make some sacrifices of course. Maybe taking that second job packing groceries means less time with the family but at least it’s within their control. At least that’s something they understand. At least it’s not “those people”.

Call it parochial racism. Call it small-town mentality. The fact is that when you read statistics like 77% of Bush supporters still believe that there is a link between Iraq and Al Qaeda it’s because they heard it over and over on the media and choose to believe it because it backs up their feelings. In fact, it’s irrelevant because to them there is no difference between Iraqis, Iranians, Saudis, Afghanis, Sudanese, Mexicans and Pakistanis. They are all “the other”. Something they don’t understand from far away and this they believe with the help of the media is a threat. When the TV news show 24/7 coverage of hurricane damage in Florida that killed 70 people while at the same time ignoring monsoon floods the same day in Bangladesh which left 600 people dead and at least 30 million people homeless or stranded there’s some serious prejudice going on. What does that say about the US? That we’re better than the rest of the world? We’re number one? The trouble here then is when the rest of the world starts becoming restless at this arrogance and plunges aircraft into the World Trade Center. Sooner or later the chickens come home to roost, even the totally mad chickens. As long as the US media continues to report the ubiquitous “plane crash, two Americans dead” type headlines we are in trouble. What does this say about the world? This reinforces, not only the “it could be you” fear factor but that the US is living in its own safe cocoon while it’s actions extend across the planet. Thinking globally when the US has global influence has never been more appropriate.

And therein lays the problem. Until these Americans start seeing with their own eyes, traveling outside of their own safe areas, pushing themselves to what is no longer comfortable and learning that there is more than one way to be “normal” there will always be people who support Bush.

So what can we do? We need to reach out to these people. Take diversity to them because they sure as hell aren’t coming to us. Show them that diversity is a wonderful thing. Have them learn a language. Leave fajitas and Adjani bread on their doorsteps. Explain why art and literature are more than just Norman Rockwell and Daniele Steele. That Tammy Winette sounds even better re-mixed by Kid Loco. Diversity is what built America and what made it great. Now,that the US is operating on a global scalesadly it seems that very diversity will destroy it.

Jonathan Lemon

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