During the run-up to this election, UK media showed us many clips and soundbites of people emphatically committed to voting against Bush (though not so much for
Kerry): angry Floridians eager to avenge their disenfranchisement
first time voters determined to end the trade embargo on Cuba
, anti-war left-wingers from San Francisco
and New York
, and many more. The one thread that ran through the characterisitcs of all these disparate pepole - other than the obvious, their electoral choice - was that many of them belonged to what can be described as a minority. Cultural, ethnic, religious or racial, the minority groups were taken for granted by UK media to be anti-Bush.
Now I am of course prepared to accept the fact that this is simply wrong, and that there are many AM's, Catholics and young urbanites who endorsed Bush in this election. Based ont he exit poles, however, this seems to be unlikely, which leads me to a conclusion that is only surprising in that, being so obvious, it had neve occured to me before.
The US is simply not the homogenous melting pot that it likes to think of itself as being. Yes, there are many different kinds of people in the US, of different backgrounds, religions and colours, but they are, in the fundamentally factual as well as the political sense, minorities. White, Anglo-Saxon (and probably Germanic, in the Mid-West), Protestant Americans are the majority, and what they want is a WASP President. This is what they've just been given.
Now, I happen to strongly disagree with them on the merits of this president, and I think they've just done their country and the world a huge disservice. But one really cannot blame an electorate for choosing a candidate who represents them, now can one? Not just their views or their interests, but them. This is the majority getting what the majority wants, and arrogant posturing about the stupidity of the American public is really not a very good reflection on the democratic credentials of my fellow European observers. We just have to admit to ourselves that America is a country with a very different ethnic and ideological demographic than what we have been used to think - that the invisible masses of the Midwest, those that do not feature in Hollywood films and cop shows, are massive indeed.
The question now remains how do we here in the rest of the so-called Free World prevent our immediate futures being influenced or even dictated by George W. Bush - because we bloody well did not vote for him!