Monday, November 3, 2008

Walls Come Tumbling Down (Hopefully)

I have to say that I feel very lucky, and slightly nervous, writing this guest post for the mighty AMC. He might claim that he's lost his mojo, but I'd suggest that even a mojo-less AMC is the better of 90% of other bloggers.

With that in mind I've decided to tackle a subject outside those that are normally covered here (though not entirely as you'll see), but it's one that will undoubtedly affect us more than just about anything else. I'm talking of course about what Jonathan Ross will do next. Sorry, I mean who wakes up on Wednesday morning as President of the USA.

I realise that the Obama-McCain election has probably been one of the most written about in the history of modern democracies, but I still feel it's worth talking about: I also realise how dangerous mentioning race or politics can be online as I recently wrote about an occasion when posting about these things went terribly wrong, but I'd like to think the readers of AMC are open to a bit of adult discussion.

It was whilst reading an excellent analysis of both candidates in yesterday's Observer that I realised quite how much this election matters, and quite how much I care about the result. It made me think about how it has often been somehow trendy to mock the US: its culture, its people and its institutions. Certainly, the way in which many in this country and around the world seemed to display schadenfreude after the events of Septemmber 2001, or were willing to line up with the sort of extremists they would normally throw their copy of The Guardian* at, just so long as it allowed them to oppose Bush Jr, left a nasty taste in the mouth. But I often think that this attitude comes out of a mixture of jealousy & disappointment.

Jealousy, in the same way you secretly envy your cooler younger sibling: they might be headstrong and rather naive, but at the end of the day, they always know what's hot before you do. And let's be honest, how many things that you hold dear originated in the US? I listen to rock, funk, jazz, soul & hip hop - all American inventions. I love the fact that the British have so regularly managed to add their own flavour to these genres, but at the end of the day, we're only improvising with an American recipe.

Disappointment because underneath it all, we want America to be all that it aims to be. Anyone who watches as much West Wing as I do will know the feeling that often comes when watching it: if only Jed Bartlet was real, if only the last 8 years were just a bad dream. But he's not, and they weren't. Which is why I'm hoping so strongly for an Obama win: if nothing else, whilst we Brits may love acting superior, we've never managed to get someone with dark skin and a funny sounding name anywhere near Number 10.

And it seems I'm not alone in my desire. A website set-up by an acquaintance of mine encourages the citizens of the world who don't live in the US to cast their vote, as this is probably the one election which truly impacts every single country on the planet. At the moment it's showing the world desperate for an Obama landslide. I doubt it will be that clear-cut, but for all those of us who honestly want the US to at least attempt to live-up to its own standards, I hope he wakes up on Wednesday with someone calling him Mr President.

Of course this being All Mod Cons, it wouldnt be right if I didn't end with a video, and so I give you the mighty Weller from his (in my opinion) highly under-rated Style Council days with a track which has a very apt name: here's hoping Obama can be like the horns of Jericho.

*I should add that I'm card carrying Guardian reader myself.

Wall image by seier+seier+seier on flickr


Reeny's Ramblin' said...

Fingers and toes are crossed for Obama. I have faith that change is coming.

ted said...

I love your comment about Jed Bartlet and the West Wing. Every time I watch that show I think "if only he was real".

Good news is that Obama won, and by a lot. His speech was one of his best and it truly made me feel like change is coming.

Princess Pointful said...

It is funny how much, as a Canadian, I wanted to vote in this election-- you are right in that it certainly will have an impact on my daily life!!