November 8, 2004


Why George Bush Beat John Kerry (Timothy Kalyegira, November 7, 2004, The Monitor)

When I returned to Uganda from my first visit to America last December, I wrote in The Monitor arguing that just from spending six days in New York City, I had noticed that America, far from being a multi-cultural, secular country, is actually a conservative White-dominated, Christian nation.

I was severely criticised by many people who read the articles, especially Africans living in the US and offended by my tendency to ignore their significance in American society and my tendency to see everything in terms of race.

But now in November 2004, we are suddenly and shockingly reminded of how uncannily correct I might have been, because, according to the CNN television network, the force that swung the election to Bush was the White, Christian Protestants whose large turnout broke every record in the book of conventional wisdom.

None of what happened on Tuesday surprised me.

But exactly what is the nature of the America that most political commentators and news editors did not foresee?

This much we can now deduce from the United States.

First, it is a vast nation which, although a spin-off from western European Anglo-Saxon Christian civilisation, is a country all of its own peculiarity.

It is the only major country in the world, for instance, to have failed utterly to embrace soccer, the world's most popular sport.

You have to think that when people cited moral values on Tuesday they were really expressing anger at the elites' attempt to impose soccer on the rest of us.

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 8, 2004 4:23 PM

Well, in perfect candor, that was uppermost in my thoughts on Tuesday last. The nerve of them, calling a game in which nothing much happens for 90 minutes "football"! And then writing to those Ohioans without even bothering to apologize for it!

Posted by: Francis W. Porretto at November 8, 2004 5:01 PM

And yet the US men's national team made it to the quarterfinals of the World Cup in 2002.

Posted by: Howard at November 8, 2004 5:19 PM

Howard: Worldwide hatred for the US now is nothing compared to what it's going to be when we win one of the next few World Cups...

Posted by: brian at November 8, 2004 5:24 PM

Soccer is the perfect sport for liberals, you can run around and not do much and never really have to show results other than to kick someone in the shins.

When that grounder is headed your way though, there is no hiding, its just you baby.

Posted by: Perry at November 8, 2004 5:34 PM

As someone who once, while playing shortstop, stopped a sizzling grounder with his face after a bad bounce, I can second Perry's observation.

Posted by: pj at November 8, 2004 8:36 PM

But do they play soccer in Lambert Field?

Posted by: TimF at November 8, 2004 8:43 PM

Ohio State beat Michigan State 31-19, last weekend in real football. Take that Michael Moore.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at November 8, 2004 10:46 PM

The elites see soccer as being a sport for working-class boors wth it regularly being derided for distracting the masses from demanding vital sociopolitical change, encouraging unnecessary competitiveness and being responsible for crass materialism on behalf of the players and jingoistic nationalism on the international stage.

The only North American sports worth any time are ice hockey and professional wrestling. Baseball is far inferior to cricket and rugby's fast-flowing, aggressive and completely unprotected play make American "football" fit only for insomniacs.

We hav basketball (or netball) over here but rather fittingly its' pretty much a girls-only sport.

Posted by: M Ali Choudhury at November 9, 2004 12:50 AM

Hear hear, M Ali.

Baseball is a pleasant enough diversion on a summer's evening, but essentially it's watered-down cricket for children.

American football is rugby for armchair-Generals and wimps in crash helmets who need to stop running every fifteen seconds or so.

We call proper 'football' thus because in our version players are actually required to use their feet.

Anyway, the US is not the only major country not to embrace soccer as number one sport, as the ignoramus quoted claims. India, for example, has a billion people and they get their kicks from cricket and field hockey (yes, the one where you wear skirts).

Posted by: Brit at November 9, 2004 4:24 AM

My sixth sense tells me that things here are about to turn ugly.

Let's hope that the level of civility will at least match that of the pros and cons of Bush/Kerry, evolution/creationism, and monogamy/polygamy.

P.S. Is the illustrious Kenyan commentator concluding that Kerry lost because he plays soccer? (What profound, creative insight!) If so, don't tell Soccer Moms for Bush, Inc.

Posted by: Barry Meislin at November 9, 2004 6:15 AM


They're just peevish cause they throw like girls.

Posted by: oj at November 9, 2004 8:19 AM

M Ali/Brit

"The elites see soccer as being a sport for working-class boors"

Gee, I wonder where anyone would get such an idea.

Gotta rush to the defence of our Dear Leader (without any hope of reciprocation, of course). Baseball becomes more interesting and gripping the more one watches and understands it. The more I watch and understand soccer, the more I just want to see the goal replays.

Both baseball and hockey are superior because they are conservative sports. They both have very alive and long traditions of being kid friendly and promoting neighbourhood, father-son, and even whole family bonding and participation. They take over most of one's waking hours in season and the childhood memories they provide are savoured forever. You don't really understand family life until you are there to see your kid play when they open a rink at 6:00 am on a dark January morning when it is minus 30 outside--and in.

You are right about American football, though. It's a stupid game for college louts. The Canadian version is slighly better, but only so much as to raise it to the level of a really dumb game.

Posted by: Peter B at November 9, 2004 8:49 AM

Its the historic/legendary element of baseball that appeals to me. I'm intrigued by the legend of the curse of the Bambino, and get a sort of sympathetic nostalgic glow for a time of small boys bunking off school and huddled to the wireless for news of the world series.

But of course we have similar legends and heroes here for our own sports, particularly cricket and football.

You don't have 'soccer legends' in America (or Canada), so you're never going to get it like we do.

But mention the White Horse cup final, Stanley Matthews, Tom Finney, Busby's Babes, Bill Shankly or the year 1966, and any true Englishman's eyes will light up.

Posted by: Brit at November 9, 2004 9:29 AM


Which no doubt offsets his red nose nicely.

Posted by: Peter B at November 9, 2004 9:40 AM

Ah, so you're aware of Sir Alex Ferguson then?

(in-joke alert)

Posted by: Brit at November 9, 2004 9:56 AM

"American football is rugby for armchair-Generals and wimps in crash helmets who need to stop running every fifteen seconds or so."

Brit, Ali

I wasn't aware Rugby had any strategy to it which is American style footballs' most interesting characteristic for me. I will have to watch closer next time.

Posted by: Perry at November 9, 2004 11:48 AM


Rugby Union, the gentlemen's version, is full of strategy. But it certainly takes a trained eye to spot it.

Rugby League, the northern working-man's version, has a rather simpler strategy: flatten him before he flattens you.

Posted by: Brit at November 9, 2004 1:09 PM

Which is why its' better.

Posted by: M Ali Choudhury at November 9, 2004 1:52 PM