It has been a great blessing to walk about the world these past years with my head held high. Thanks to Barack Obama for that. A man who is articulate, intelligent, caring and yes, soulful (check out his astounding speech after the South Carolina murders) representing our nation and calling for us to reach higher than our lowest, spiteful and greedy selves.
I suffered so much under the Bush Error (Era), tempted to insist I was Canadian while traveling to Europe, South America, Asia, Australia. Almost everyone I met understood that the leader doesn’t always reflect the country and that indeed, there were many thoughtful and good-hearted Americans that I was proud to call fellow citizens working for change. But still I found myself constantly apologizing for the harm Mr. Bush caused, his inarticulate speech and cowboy mentality.
When Obama was elected, I threw the stick of shame far away. But lo and behold, it turned out to be a boomerang and here in Australia (of all places!), it has come rocketing back to me. Who could have imagined that George Bush would have eventually looked good next to the circus clowns the Republicans have thrown into the ring? All the Australians I’ve met on this trip are looking at me with confusion, bewilderment, a wry smile, pity and a general “What the f..k???!!” look and I can only shrug my shoulders and say, “We— the actual Americans I know and those in the media who still have five brain cells — are all wondering the same.” The world is watching the show like a spectator sport and when they try to figure out how things could have gotten so far, all I can say is that I’m as confused as they are.
The best I can say is that the people I know are standing on a cliff with a breathtaking view and all the cameras are turned on a pile of dung at our feet. It may look like that’s the true picture, but really, it’s just the antics of a shameful media desperate to get people to look at them and nothing plays so well as shock and sensation. The real story will be told at the polling booths and though one can never underestimate what can happen when dung is the News Du Jour, I do believe the clowns will fall out of the car and the circus will leave town.
But meanwhile, I’m working on my Canadian accent.