November 9, 2002
THE 53% EXTREMISTS (again):A dark week for democracy: The stranglehold the far Right has now taken on America will make it a more divided, reactionary and illiberal country (Will Hutton, November 10, 2002, The Observer)
The election in Georgia said it all. The Democrat governor, Roy Barnes, had dared to remove the Confederate symbol from the state flag last year. His Republican challenger wanted to bring it back, to honour, he said, 300,000 Confederate 'veterans'. A Republican has not occupied Georgia's governor's mansion since 1872. After last Tuesday, one does, courtesy of wanting to celebrate a civil war fought to defend slavery.
Europeans do not understand the curious civilisation that the current America is becoming, and the grip that a visceral and idiosyncratic conservatism has on its national discourse. They especially do not understand the undercurrents of an increasingly self-confident and subtle racism that is its own variant of the forces that in Europe gave us Le Pen and Pim Fortuyn. George Bush Jnr is a chip off the old multilateralist, transatlantic establishment, runs the European argument. He may seem hawkishly conservative but, in the end, he seeks UN resolutions like other American Presidents. Even at home, his bark is worse than his bite.
Wrong, wrong and wrong again. Anyone who thinks the Tory party is 'nasty' has not encountered contemporary American republicanism. Georgia's Republican Party, for example, is now lead by Ralph Reed, a long-time crusader against abortion, divorce and single parent families. He would regard last week's vote in the House of Lords allowing unmarried and gay couples to adopt as the work of Satan. He is part of US conservatism's ideological hard core.
Oh, to be European, where the only acceptable ideology is pro-abortion and pro-alternative lifestyle. No wonder they're succumbing to an influx of Muslim immigrants.
Posted by Orrin Judd at November 9, 2002 9:20 PM