For some time now I have been enthralled by the sideshow that is the elections in this (self-proclaimed) greatest nation on earth. The way they are conducted, along with conduct of people involved, though profoundly sad for the American people, I daresay at the very least is mildly amusing, and at times wildly hilarious to outsiders such as myself. “All is fair in love and war,” the saying goes, but apparently elections are to be added to the shortlist. Taking full advantage of the electorate being ludicrously uninformed, definitely when it comes to politics, a nigh on continuous flow of statements is being excreted. Remarkably enough, the more outrageous the claim, the more acclaim it receives. Admittedly both parties have a rather tenuous and creative grasp on reality and truth, yet the republicans in particular seem to have lost even this small hold.
Mitt Romney’s comedy of errors is by far the most laughable campaign I believe I have ever seen. Considering the state of the union, combined with a notoriously short memory of the average American (whomsoever that may be), he should have had relatively little trouble winning. Somehow, though, he simply cannot keep his campaign on track, as a result of which he is not necessarily circling the drain, yet over the past weeks the trend is decidedly downhill. Rigid as he may be personally, his beliefs as well as policies are more flexible than a contortionist. As a political chameleon, his standpoint is whatever his public demands. His campaign can be relied upon to – at a later time – (re-)release his actual view on the matter in question, so as not to worry the base overmuch. If the latest poll numbers are anything to go by, the strategy appears to be catching up to him.
His latest error was his statement about the events in Libya, which will surely not further his cause, more likely reinforce the downward spiral. Regardless of how a nation should stand together on issues such as these, this was beyond a doubt a reprehensible attempt at self-promotion. What’s more, a US presidential candidate seen effectively defending a movie trailer offending 1.5 billion people worldwide is downright dangerous. Clearly he did not consider the ramifications; not on a national scale, much less internationally. His words will certainly do nothing to endear him personally, nor the US to the world, most assuredly the Muslim community. One can only hope that his remarks do not spur more protests, or worse.
Romney seems convinced there is more the US could do to keep events such as these from happening in the future. How he proposes to go about this, as always remains unclear. Perhaps he plans on stationing a platoon of soldiers at each and every embassy, consulate (general) and branch office throughout the world. Aside from the prohibitive cost of this gargantuan operation, where would the personnel come from? Perchance this is the elusive purpose of the 100k new soldiers he has been talking about; no one else seems to know what these recruits would be doing. Essentially it is similar to a burglar wanting to break into a house: given ample time and opportunity, he will get in. No matter what is done preventatively, there is no failsafe way to stop all terrorist attacks, whether stateside or abroad. He says America needs to be perceived as strong again. In short he not only implies a current lack thereof, but also that a perception of strength would have prevented this heinous act. If history teaches us nothing else, I would say it will merely incite them to go in with greater force.
For as far as he can be accused of possessing any tact or diplomacy at all, Mitt Romney so far has shown precious little aptitude for either. With opportunism, on the other hand, he is definitely well-endowed. There is absolutely nothing wrong with taking pride in one’s country. It is, however, passing strange for a country so reliant on imports from China, to treat them with such hostility. I read a few years ago that Walmart’s imports from China alone are greater than those of (the nations of) Germany and France combined. Unless median income shifts quite tremendously, a substantial number of Americans simply cannot afford to buy American-made products, if they were even available. Having money changes your perspective on life vigorously, and it is much easier to have ideals when you have the funds to back them up. This is not a matter of mentality, merely economics. Nonetheless Romney, by playing on patriotic feelings in an effort to win more votes, seems intent on damaging the already fragile relationship with China. His words and ads last Friday sparked a response from the Chinese, warning him of being on the path of a trade war. They contend he shows hypocrisy in his business dealings: "It is rather ironic that a considerable portion of this China-battering politician's wealth was actually obtained by doing business with Chinese companies before he entered politics," the official Xinhua news agency wrote [source: Reuters]. Standing (as yet) on the sidelines as he is, his opportunism is bad enough. Once in office, however, a continuance of this policy might have dramatic consequences for an economy that is shaky at best. An economy he is determined to keep as it is until the elections, so as not to aid the current administration in any way. Any and all stimulus measures are avidly opposed, construed as they are as actions to enable re-election of president Obama. Though some of their arguments actually hold water, something is to be said both for and against government financial assistance. It quite often is the go-to for supporting a lagging economy, and with good reason, even if they don’t always fully work as intended. One would think that getting this country back on its feet would be a common goal, instead of a partisan attempt to curry favor among voters. Republican opposition can only be perceived as the latter.
With 53 days left to go, the latest numbers show that neither campaign is especially short on cash: between both a staggering $591 million has been spent on advertising. These days elections are no longer won, be it on merit and/or policies, they are mostly bought. Hone in on the opponent’s faults and shortcomings, obviously steer clear of your own, and – as the republicans so eloquently put it – carpet bomb the battlefield with ads. Apparently the 31k with which Las Vegas has already been targeted is simply insufficient to convey the message. One might argue that the market is saturated at some point: already prime time is filled with ads, and before, as well as after certain hours, efficacy is negligible. Yet, the law of diminishing return clearly has lost all meaning. It is extremely difficult to get a foot in the door without a handsome amount of money backing a candidate as it is. An analyst predicted that as soon as 2016, without at least one Super PAC, it might very well be utterly impossible. Either way, more and more it will no longer be survival of the fittest (i.e. most capable), but of the wealthiest. In most every respect of life, money has become a necessary evil. It should not become the all-determining factor when it comes to elections. I, for one, find the thought of Mitt Romney in office a rather frightening notion. There are, however, worse candidates imaginable. Should it really be possible for them to buy their way into office? President Obama is doubtful, but I believe this nation as a whole needs to seriously consider whether this is the way to go.