Earlier this year I met a woman who was a producer for a small news-based tv company in the States. She said she was dreading the election. Her reason was the amount and viciousness of the attack ads that are aired in the run up to polling day. Vast amounts of money are spent by both sides to denigrate their rival. Smears, half-truths and downright lies are peddled at the electorate. They interrupt every newscast and tv programme with increasing momentum. It is nasty and barmy.
Obama has had to deal with more than most incumbents just because he is a black president. The race card has not been played overtly but it has been used by the Tea Party wing plus other right wing organisations to paint him as not being American. They have made great play about his ‘otherness’ without ever demeaning themselves by saying it is because of his skin colour.
Listening to vox pops from the US run on our media is deeply frustrating. Listening to some half-baked fruitcake declare themselves for Romney because they ‘are catholic and they listen to what their priest says in the pulpit’ is enough to make you weep. Have they not been around on this planet while the catholic church were engaged in kiddy-fiddling? Where were they when that huge cover-up was exposed?
To add to the angst, Romney is a Mormon, which on the mumbo-jumbo scale is way up there.
There are many things to be disappointed and even angry about Obama (Drones, Guantanamo, Israel) but (and it is a massive BUT) Romney would be so much worse. One of Romney’s supporters said that he was impressed when he was with him in Israel and the Israelis were embarrassed about the huge wall they are building to keep the Palestinians apart. It is a horrible construction and fundamentally inhuman. The Israelis were right to be ashamed. Romney thought it was good.
Despite all the money, all the airtime and all the vituperation, barely 50% will actually vote. Listening to the attack dogs of both sides it feels like a country tearing itself apart. Bearing in mind many of them are armed to the teeth - that is a worry.