Yankee Doodle Banana
It’s tricky being an American outside the U.S.
It’s not just the taxman you can’t hide from — your native land really is the focus of global attention.
I am rarely credited with superhuman intelligence and strength (even my daughter is a skeptic) but my country is.
I for one have long argued American power is significantly less than what it’s perceived to be. But you just can’t escape it.
CIA agents descend from the sky and implant things in people, America has an earthquake machine and the Gujarat riots went according to a Washington plan.
Maybe people like to think someone, somewhere is in charge. But reality ain’t nowhere near as slick: Iraq and Afghanistan have been quagmires, Hurricane Katrina killed more than a thousand (thankfully not repeated by Gustav), and the mortgage backed loans crisis has written off years of global growth.
So much for total control.
It’s always been clear to me the U.S. is run by humans as fallible as the next guy. So could this weekend’s strange turn of events in U.S. Republican politics be the nail in the coffin for America’s image as a semi-responsible democracy.
How to make sense of it? Here in India tolerance for drama runs high (think MPs waving cash in parliament) – many friends and colleagues look away from India’s vibrant politics hoping for a glimpse of something more serious, something more effective, outside.
But scripted drama is not for India alone. Alaska Governor Sarah Palin , politician, reformer, and now mom of a soon-to-be teenage mom is running for the U.S. Vice Presidency.
That means Palin, who has apparently “never really thought of running for office” becomes president if John McCain falls ill, dies or gets killed (remember he is 72 and has had cancer).
No small job for someone with just two years experience as governor of a state (yes, neither is being a mom to 5 kids!) Maybe she really is up to it. And perhaps Palin could become America’s Mayawati, delivering Republicans an entire caste of working mothers?
Regardless, McCain’s choice offers a fascinating peek at his thinking – the attempted message looks like “I am a maverick” but the real one may be “I am desperate” – actually seeking the votes of disaffected Hillary supporters.
Is McCain that afraid of Obama? Whatever the case, despite promises from both sides to stick to the issues (remember, the economy? global warming? war in Iraq?) this Presidential election now seems on cue to follow a reality TV script.
Is this election, as Woody Allen said in his 1971 comedy about a banana republic (“Bananas”), becoming “a travesty of a mockery of a sham of a mockery of a travesty of two mockeries of a sham”? We welcome your views.