US Elections: Just Like the Movies
Rarely do candidates stand behind a podium without amending or overriding their personal beliefs in return for generating applause. You would hardly hear, for example, of a
Candidates do not bring fresh principals to the table, but instead shape their views based on what national and local polls tell them matters to the voting public. And what matters is largely manipulated by the media and the state. Their combined scare tactics convinced most Americans of outright falsehoods, such as Saddam's ties to 9/11, his stockpiles of WMDs, the "liberation" of women in
In a healthy democracy, the media is expected to represent the interests of the people -- all the people, while the government serves as a conduit to carry and defend these interests without violating the constitution. But in the age of evangelical fanatics, lobby groups, international corporations and lucrative
Indeed, maintaining the image of a democracy while violating its genuine principles has consumed the efforts of successive
Democrats are also bound by the rules of the game. They need the money, media coverage and lobbyists. Currently there are 35,000 registered federal lobbyists representing all sorts of special interests, including foreign powers such as
Barack Obama, who does indeed have little experience of understanding how the system works still possesses a talent for pleasing the crowd. Thus his initial assertion that lobbyists "won't work in my White House". Then, possibly after being told by his campaign managers that special interests are more influential than the rest of the country, he tweaked his vow slightly whereby lobbyists "are not going to dominate my White House." Although his pledge changed its substance almost entirely, he was able to receive victory in
For now, analysts can extract temporary comfort from the prevailing interpretation of the
Rev Stan Moody of the Christian Policy Institute, writes, "Huckabee is a Rapturist" in reference to the mid-19th Century interpretation of biblical text which culminated in 1909 as the Scofield Desk Reference Bible. This envisions -- and not metaphorically -- a Greater Israel as a precondition to the return of Christ, who, with the true Christians, will defeat Satanic forces, convert 144,000 Jews and exterminate the rest. It has no Harry Potter twists, but it puts
In her article, which appeared in The Jerusalem Post on 3 January, Hilary Leila Krieger reported from
According to the same article, "Huckabee has drawn on his experience in the
With the notable exceptions of Republican Ron Paul and Democrat Dennis Kucinich, most visible presidential candidates were eager to compromise the interest of their country to guarantee that of
While supporting Israel, right or wrong, is business as usual for US politicians, Huckabee's advent -- described as the "second coming" of Ronald Reagan by a producer at an Iowa TV station, is the truly alarming trend. He cannot simply be dismissed as a lunatic Armageddonist who thinks that he can win an election; he actually captured the Republican endorsement in
Huckabee knows well how to carry the momentum to the next destination -- he needs to keep up the religious fervour, as narrow-minded and irrational as it may be. We are told that this is what voters are expecting. To win, like a good filmmaker, Huckabee must deliver.
Life can indeed resemble the movies, but in the case of US elections the movie has become so familiar and predictable that it's no longer even entertaining.
-Ramzy Baroud (www.ramzybaroud.net) is an author and editor of PalestineChronicle.com. His work has been published in many newspapers and journals worldwide. His latest book is The Second Palestinian Intifada: A Chronicle of a People's Struggle (Pluto Press,