Letters to Clark County
The Guardian, the British newspaper, has started a campaign to get their readers to write to voters in Clark County, OH, and requesting them to vote Bush out of office. So far 14,000 people have signed up for the newspaper’s program, requesting the name and address of a Clark County voter. Clark County is one of the most evenly divided counties in the battleground state of Ohio.
The Guardian’s reasoning is that since the rest of the world is greatly affected by America’s foreign policy, this is a chance for citizens of other countries to exert some influence – not a vote, just a small effect – on the American election.
Some Americans have written furious letters to the Guardian, protesting (in language that would make Howard Stern blush) this “interference” in American politics, calling the Guardian staff all kinds of expletives and ethnic slurs. The irony here is overwhelming. During the past half century, the United States has financed terrorist organizations (the Nicaraguan “Contras” during the 1980s), and overthrown duly elected governments in Chile (1973), Iran and Guatemala (the 1950s). The Iraq debacle is only the latest chapter in the American government’s insatiable desire to pull the strings of the world.
There are 3 possible reasons for the furious xenophobic reaction of “patriotic” Americans to the Guardian’s campaign:
1. These “patriots” are unaware of the American government’s frequent hand-picking of foreign governments during the last half century, and they’d be properly infuriated if they knew.
2. These letter-writers know of American efforts to control the world, and they find this every bit as infuriating as the Guardian’s campaign to contact Ohio voters.
3. The letter-writers are well aware of the American government’s history of hand-picking and overthrowing foreign leaders, and this is perfectly all right. We’re number one; what’re you gonna do about it?! But don’t you dare try to exert the tiniest influence on our government, you lowly foreign %*&%*!
Judging by the tone and language of these letters (and the IQ that this indicates), I’m gonna go with reason number 3.
I can’t help wondering if these letter-writers have half this much fury at the hijacking of our government by Big Business. Think a little: which is more intrusive? a) a CEO purchases the election with a 7-figure bribe, er, uh, I mean “campaign contribution;” or b) some foreign citizens write letters to voters of one county, asking them to think about the hazards of electing Bush.
There are valid reasons that Bush is hugely unpopular all over the world (there’ll be more columns on this; jeez, this subject could fill an encyclopedia). With millions of foreign citizens being affected (and feeling threatened) by Bush’s actions, it’s inevitable that some of these citizens are going to look for a way to influence the American election.