04. November 2004 · Comments Off on News To Europe: Get With The Program · Categories: European Disunion, Politics

There aren’t too many European mainstream news sources that I care much for, and they’re all from the UK. Among these, my favorite is The Scotsman, which can virtually always be trusted to deliver fair and objective reporting and analysis. This article on the election, and the demographic shift here in the US is a prime example:

European opinion, already somewhat alienated from Republican America, is likely to regard these developments with horror. There will be a tendency for Europe to try to go its own way, culturally, politically and economically. Such a response would be contradictory, as Europe’s main political criticism of the Bush White House is its alleged unilateralism. Better for Europe to try to understand the profound changes taking place in America, because they are here to stay. The paranoid conspiracy theories of Michael Moore only obscure a rational analysis of the deep-seated changes in American society and voting behaviour.

Traditional values

The rising tide of social conservatism in the United States has many roots. It is an obvious reaction to the same social ills that afflict Europe, such as family breakdown, drug abuse and crime. It is a reaffirmation of traditional American values in the wake of the national humiliation and social divisions of the Vietnam War. It reflects a defensive response to the collapse of the rural farming economy in the Southern states. And it builds on the deep-rooted social structures of the Scots-Irish community, which have been integral to American life for three centuries. What the 2004 election proves is that America’s new conservatism is not just a coup inside the Republican Party, but a mass phenomenon that Europe must come to terms with.

That said, President Bush has to recognise that he is more than the representative of just one constituency, even such a significant one: he is now president of the whole United States. It is incumbent on him to reach out and find a way of healing America’s divisions, to use the apt phrase of Senator Kerry in his concession speech. In his victory speech, Mr Bush seemed to recognise this healing task. He specifically addressed those who had voted for Senator Kerry, asking for their support and promising that he would work to earn it.

I encourage you to read the whole thing. Personally, while I don’t deny a demographic shift in the United States – particularly among our youth, I believe this election had as much or more to do with the silent majority speaking up. Beyond that, absent in this article (understandable, as it is directed at readers on that side of the pond) is an opinion on what the Democrats must do to continue to be a viable force in American national politics. But it’s very much akin to what the Europeans must do. It has to start with getting out of the victim mindset. The Jackass Party’s only binding ideology seems to be that everyone’s lot in life is someone else’s fault – the politics of divisiveness and class envy. Similarly, a common opinion in Europe, particularly in France, is that they are victimized by American imperialism – be it economic, cultural, or whatever.

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