My letter to Clark County
I'm not American, and I can't vote, so I won't be writing an endorsement of either presidential candidate. However, I've read some fantastic ones for W - diverse in their logic and detail. The best is probably the much-linked piece by Gerard Baker in the Times of London. I had to nod in agreement with Kevin Steel at the Shotgun when he noted the paragraph that really hit home to him.
Anyway, this post is titled My letter to Clark County, so here goes:
Dear American voter,
I am writing to you because, as you would expect, there is a considerable amount of interest in your presidential election tomorrow outside the United States. One of your concerns, when voting for Mr. Bush or Mr. Kerry, may be the way the US is perceived in the rest of the world. I appreciate and admire this concern, so I wish to offer some advice.
The admiration accorded to your president, as an individual and statesman, will indeed differ depending on which candidate you elect. But regardless of who you elect, the overall perception of America across the globe will not improve or suffer in the slightest.
Americans, as a whole, are viewed as money-grubbing, gun-crazy, self-absorbed, Jesus-freaked, and of course, fat. It was like this when Ronald Reagan was president, and when Bill Clinton was president. There is no president you could elect with sufficient statesmanship and selling skills to alter this perception. It is a perception borne of many factors, envy among them, and it is regularly reinforced by leaders around the globe, principally as a way to divert attention from the fact that their own citizens endure a lower standard of living than you.
Various anecdotes, true and false, are circulated regularly here in Canada, showing how Americans are stupid, ignorant, provincial, fat, etc. All of them pre-date President George W. Bush.
I bring this up not to call Americans fat several times in one letter, but only to make one point as clearly as I can, as it might not be obvious without much exposure to unfiltered international media. It is this: the "international community" will continue to assume that you, sir, are ignorant and obese, regardless of whose name you mark on your ballot. You may want to ponder the wisdom (and value) of trying to please this community.