I spent quite a lot of the election night (for us at least) chatting with an old friend on the east coast. No doubt he had dozens of chats on the go at the same time. Whatever the case, he kept me abreast with added opinion and a bit of chit-chat.
This man is a quite recently retired academic. He is a member of the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism and also the CPUSA, an old friend of Angela Davis (for those of you who remember her) and other people who are part of probably the tiniest of all minorities in the USA. Whilst making small talk he commented on people to the right of Romney who believe that all of Europe is a liberal, socialist mess that needs straightening out. Europe needs their firebrand version of Christianity back and harbouring Islamic terrorists has just got to stop. Europe will be told what they must do. Then he added that fortunately they are the minority, just, and that if Romney loses then they might just say the Republican Party is not rightwing enough and push for the end of all remaining liberal notions. Romney has lost. I asked once that was clear and he sent me the equivalent of a chuckle saying one of his friends has just said that the next generation of Republicans is being prepared. One of the frontrunners is Jeb Bush. I asked if the Bushes are going for dynastic status and got another chuckle back. I then made a comment about if it is to be another Bush then they’ll drop the abortion question but introduce lobotomies since people who could imaginably vote another member of that family would need to have one. More chuckles back.
My friend seriously believes in democracy. He also believes that the founding ‘fathers’’ (he once wrote that women were as involved as men but excluded from American history) Declaration of Independence in 1776, which announced that the thirteen American colonies had kicked England out, and the Constitution without some of the amendments that screw it back to a meaningless scrap of paper, are a wonderful foundation for democratic principles. The problem, as he sees it, is that republicanism is the dominant ideology of what was initially potentially a model of socialism and that those who call themselves Republicans have little time for democracy. There view is that people must be led, it is a tribal political attitude wherein the elders know what is best and what is new is not and cannot be good. Many of them would like to have segregation back, for the good of the non-Anglo-Saxon groups irrespective of the fact that an enormous part of the USA’s population is Hispanic, the Afro-Americans hardly insignificant numbers, east and southeast Asians numerous, etc. Indeed, my friend was pointing out that in truth the ‘white’ Americans might need compounds for themselves to hide in with exception of a few states where they are still the majority.
Anyway, for all of that Obama is back. His first four years have been lacklustre but what else was on offer. A lot of the rest of the world can now stop holding its breath and get back to life as normal. My friend is thinking of leaving the USA and was asking me about French socialism. I had to say that I would not recommend what is on offer at present, which is actually state capitalism that flies a socialist banner. In fact, as I also added, being an Afro-American himself and Europe not becoming more tolerant but the opposite, he might as well stick it out with Obama for the time being. In four years we might all know more and if there is the remotest chance that Bush III is possible then I will personally invite him to be our guest here.