Vol. 5 Num 166 Sun. November 07, 2004  

Ohio has failed the world

It s ironic, that the citizens of a small insignificant state in middle America for one day had literally the greatest amount of influence on the world's future. Ohio, a state with a track history of voting Republican was in the spotlight on election night. Towards the end of the election, the likes of Tom Brokaw and CNN were predicting Ohio to be another Florida-like mess due to the uncounted provisional ballots, and with that, the assumption of another dragged out election.

In reality, the provisional ballots really weren't the issue because Kerry would have had to have won a statistically impossible 90 percent plus of those votes, which first would have had to be accepted as legitimate.

Kerry, realising the futility of pursuing the provisionals, conceded Wednesday morning in a phone call to George Bush despite John Edwards' reassurance at 2am Tuesday night that they would be counted. Ohio let down half of America and all of the world.

Now I know you must be asking: How can America be so ignorant? How can half of the most prominent nation on earth vote for an outright liar like George W Bush? How can they accept that this is the only administration that has lost jobs in recent times? How can they afford to pay the rising costs of war?

The truth is that America can't. One of the most shocking things to come out of this election was not the fact that Ohio was the disputed state this year, but the fact that the top voting issue was "moral values."

Prior to the election, the buzz words were "security," "the economy," and "health care." But in the final analysis, moral values -- heavily emphasised by the president -- edged terrorism and the economy as the top issue in this year's election. To the rest of the world, this makes absolutely no sense. With America still battling it out in Iraq and the world's security rating having fallen with a domino affect on American jobs and the US Economy, how does "moral values" come out on top?

Let me point out, though, that not all Americans are as stupid as this election might have you believe. This election was probably the most polarised in US history with very strong grass-roots campaigns and special efforts made to reach out to young voters. Before you reduce all Americans to foolish hicks, please understand this.

Republicans are usually conservative and prioritise religion, the extremists being evangelical. The south and middle of the country are mostly conservative, more concerned about family values and about what the Bible has to say. Therefore it was a brilliant campaign strategy for the Bush camp to go out and rally at churches in swing states, asking them to turn over church directories to the campaign, distribute issue guides in their churches and persuade their pastors to hold voter registration drives. According to the polls, conservatives (read: Republicans) are mostly concerned about moral issues such as gay marriage and abortion.

America being very largely conservative and rural, care more about such moral issues versus the state of the world, the economy, and health care. The Bush administration has played on these people's emotions, blinding them to more proximate issues such as the aforementioned.

Bush chose his words well, citing God as his inspiration for taking on Iraq and making it a point that he is strongly against gay marriages, abortions, and public funding for stem cell research, some issues which Kerry was not so determined about in his own convictions.

In the aftermath of this election, Kerry supporters have felt alienated from the rest of country who voted based on faith rather than on real problems at hand. Many find it hard that America can maintain its status as a secular nation, when so many people voted based on the religious convictions of the candidates, partially ignoring the fact they are paying higher taxes, working longer hours with less pay, losing funding for education and paying more for medicine.

To Republicans, Bush is a godsend and he has come to instill good in the world -- ironic since he's a proven liar and has waged an imperialistic war of attrition. What kind of Christianity promotes lying and violence?

While some Republicans might acknowledge the poor state of affairs in America and abroad, most of them are probably banking on divine intervention to save them. I know that it is sad for the world that Bush was re-elected, but you need to understand that conservative Republicans don't care about the rest of the world.

They are happy as long as minorities such as homosexuals are denied their rights, they are happy as long as they can carry guns in public places, even happier when civil liberties are taken away.

Evidence of this lies in Ohio, which went red despite losing the most jobs under Bush's watch. Ludicrous. I was personally saddened by the result here in America. This race was tight, and I joined half of America in a fight against George Bush. Having voted for the first time in my life, I was confident Kerry would win, so convinced that I was dreaming about it, but when I woke up to the reality of the morning of Nov 3, I was horrified.

Kerry supporters expressed feelings of devastation and rage after Tuesday night's loss. Violent anger and frustration has been voiced all over internet forums and the solemn mood on campus was a complete contrast to the mood of election day created by the huge Kerry banners and nearly all the students wearing Kerry-Edwards pins screaming: Vote Kerry.

My only consolation was that Minnesota, my state of residence, went to Kerry. People have begun rumouring things as crazy as social civil war, and debating whether people from the south should be made to write essays as to why they're voting before being allowed to vote.

Many of my American friends are asking the same question as you probably have: What the hell is wrong with America?

Some even say they are fed up with this country and its system. The point is, not to damn all Americans since one half was on the side of the world, the other half being pre-occupied with whether homosexuals will take over the universe or not.

America is still beautiful for this democracy that it is and the opportunities it gives to everyone. Although I do not believe my day-to-day life will change because of this election, it will most certainly affect other people around the world.

Now that Bush has successfully proven he can be a complete fraud and still be re-elected this is his cue to do anything he wants, well armed with 9/11, the magical numbers which seem to be the answer to any sort of contention and protest.

Well, wake up world, get ready for four more years of the same.

While they are very critical, it's importance was shared by only half of the population. Not all Americans are as stupid as this election might have you believe. This election was probably the most polarised in US history with very strong grass-roots campaigns and special efforts made to reach out to young voters.

Zaied Ali is a university student in Minnesota, USA.