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The Future of the World at Stake
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by Florian Roetzer
Email: mbatko (nospam) lycos.com (verified)
01 Nov 2004
Every good republican knows the world is solid Kerry territory. A survey by pollsters HI Europe earlier in October found that, if Europeans had a vote, they would back Kerry over Bush by a 6 to 1 margin. Bush would win just 6% in Germany..
US PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION: THE FUTURE OF THE WORLD AT STAKE
By Florian Roetzer
The British Guardian calls people worldwide to a unique campaign to influence voters in “swing states”
[This article originally published in the German-English cyber-journal Telepolis, October 15, 2004 is translated from the German on the World Wide Web, http://www.telepolis.de/deutsch/inhalt/on/18578/1.html.]
In the times of globalization, hardly anything can be really isolated any more. Politics has long been global. Therefore the elections in the US – and elsewhere – are by no means only a domestic political event. Considering the US as a superpower, its election outcome will have effects on everyone. In the age of satellite television and the Internet, the media influence not only regions but a global public directly or indirectly. In a unique action with Operation Clark County , the Guardian is now trying to use the globality of the medium and the Internet to influence the US election and turns to “my non-American fellow-citizens”.
The media stirs its readers occasionally or methodically, unintentionally or specifically and tries to influence their vote or their opinion. In Germany a concerted action of the media sought to force a return to the old German writing style. This example shows that actions of the “fourth branch” – thanks be to God - are not always successful.
The Guardian, a left-liberal newspaper if such terms still have meaning, does not call directly to support Kerry or undermine Bush. In the US, the republican and democratic presidential candidates are running a neck-and-neck race as in the last election. People outside the US are more against Bush than they favor Kerry. The question can certainly be raised whether much in US foreign policy would change with a president Kerry.
According to a new survey  that only confirms previous polls, the majority of people in countries near the US with hardly any anti-American resentment prefer Kerry as president. Only in Israel (50%) and Russia (52%) would people decide for Bush. Elsewhere only a fifth of the surveyed would decide for him. People prefer Kerry in Japan (50 vs. 30), Australia (54 vs. 28), Great Britain (50 vs. 22) and Canada (60 vs. 20). People incline even more strongly to Kerry in Mexico (55 vs. 20), South Korea (68 vs.18), France (72 vs. 16) and Spain (58 vs. 13). The unpopularity of Bush far outweighs the fondness for Kerry. The majority in all countries regards the invasion of Iraq as wrong. Only Israel is an exception.
Besides, every good Republican knows the world is sold Kerry territory. A survey by pollsters HT Europe earlier this month found that if Europeans had a vote, they would back Kerry over Bush by a 6 to 1 margin. Bush would win just 6% in Germany, 5% in Spain and a measly 4% in France. No Republican is going to cede turf like that to the enemy.
Jonathan Friedland in his commentary on the Guardian action
On the background of this mood, the Guardian urges people to make their opinions known and influence the presidential elections in the US, whether in letters to voters, donations to organizations or commentaries on radio broadcasts – even if only to persuade Americans to vote. The reason for meddling in traditionally domestic affairs is obvious:
Who would seriously describe the 2004 election campaign between George Bush and John Kerry as a domestic political affair? There is a reason why every newspaper in the world will have the same news on the front page on November 3. This election will be decisive for the future of the world, not only for the US.
If domestic policy is not only determined or displaced by foreign policy and national politics becomes everyone’s affair, this means the dawn of cosmopolitans announcing their right to democratic joint-determination. Whoever suffers directly under political decisions should join in the conversation especially when he or she should or must face the consequences of prescribed personal responsibility. This reflects a fundamental sense of justice. However for a long time, as the Guardian writes: “All you can do is wait and look on. You are powerless.” The concept of the Guardian in a globalized interdependent world must lead to an abolition of regional governments – or at least to a global institution like the UN that can decide democratically by a majority will. Perhaps we are at the beginning of a development that comes from below, not like the UN as a product of nation states.
The result of the US election will influence the lives of millions all over the world. But – until now – whoever lives outside the 50 states had nothing to say.
To change this, the Guardian provides a “personal toolbox” enabling people from Basildon to Botswana to get involved. Three letters from prominent Brits (John Le Carre, Andrea Fraser and Richard Dawkins) are offered as stimulations and models:
Dear Clark County voter, Give us back the America we loved. And here in Britain, for as long as we have Tony Blair singing the same lies as George Bush, your nightmares will be ours. Yours sincerely, John Le Carre
As the bumper stickers put it, “Re-defeat Bush.” But, this time, do it so overwhelmingly that neither his brother’s friends in Florida nor his father’s friends on the Supreme Court will be able to rig the court. Decent Americans – there are absolutely more intelligent, educated, civilized, compassionate people in America than in any other country in the western world – please show your electoral muscle this time around. We in the rest of the world, who sadly cannot vote in the one election that really affects our future, are depending on you. Please don’t let us down. Richard Dawkins
To give the action a chance of having an effect, the editors encourage their worldwide readers to focus on Clark County in Ohio, one of the “swing states” that will be crucial in the election. Clark County is a typical balanced region outside large cities in the US. Here influencing a voter could influence the outcome of the presidential election, the Guardian suggests. The last time 324 votes decided between Bush and Al Gore in Ohio. The election will also be close this time.
The Guardian offers to supply the address of a citizen eligible to vote from the county, one of the 50,000 registered “independents” where there is a chance of convincing the person. Every address can only be given away once. Anyone can obtain the list of registered voters from the election authority by paying only $25. The best letters sent to the county and the Guardian will be published on October 20. The four best letter writers will be invited to travel to Ohio with a team of Guardian journalists at the end of October and observe the election there…