Lebanese Observations of the 2012 United States Presidential Election

 

Many may find this hard to believe but I was much more enthusiastic about the US presidential elections in 2008 than I was about the same event in 2012. It was to the extent that an American friend of mine from Kansas sent me McCain bumper stickers which I still have on the car until today. I saw nothing but McCain/Palin back then. It was the only thing that made sense and certainly not Obama. And I lost.

In 2012, I decided to be more cautious. I didn’t like Romney and I didn’t like Obama either. The former had moments of sheer stupidity (“it’s their culture”) while the latter didn’t make sense to me at all. But I decided to back a candidate based on my convictions and I went reluctantly with Romney, fully knowing that any of the candidates winning won’t have a major effect on our situation as Lebanese and of the Middle East as a whole. Both of them will adopt the same color by number American foreign policy: If you’re not Israeli, you don’t matter.

So as I stayed up all night to follow the results of what had promised to be a close election, I had more than a few observations to make.

Who’s running again?

The amount of Americans that panicked when state results started rolling is too high. It seems few understand the electoral college board system and few had actually looked at the polls in different states to know that the early lead Romney got was absolutely meaningless. This conforms with a report that many Americans had absolutely no idea who was running for elections with google searches peaking a few days prior to election day with queries of “who’s running for US president elections?” and “am I registered to vote.” I wonder how they were able to escape the deafening ad campaigns. Personally, I think it’s sad that I understand the American electoral system better than a lot of Americans. How could you expect people who are that disassociated from their country to know how to choose?

All those Godless places! 

Once the results started forming a concrete picture of an Obama advantage, the polarization started. Half of my American Twitter followers and Facebook friends were in absolute outrage whilst the other half was in orgasmic bliss. Some were in hell, others were on cloud nine. And it is then that the level of the discussion started sinking so low it reminded me of our elections of which we’re sure to get a taste in a few months. Many Americans believe Obama is the second coming of Christ, a savior who will ride in to change everything. Others literally think he’s Muslim who was sworn in back in 2008 over the Qoran, not the bible – and they don’t want that to govern them. But be careful, they’re “not being disrespectful to Muslims.” It’s just how can “a Muslim govern God’s country”? When a discussion ensued because of those tweets, those Americans made it known that they believe the US is the only “country of God” in the world. Every other country is a Godless place. Good to know.

Your opinion is invalid

Some of the issues that were voted upon in some states were assisted suicide, such as in the state of Massachusetts. One of the people whose vote had been against such a legislation (it ended up passing) was busy throwing a fit about how “selfish” it was for patients to ask for it. So I personally replied that “it’s not that simple.” The answer I got, which was one of many that night, is: you’re not a US citizen so your opinion is invalid. It seems that assisted suicide and abortion and other humanitarian debates are US-only issues. Because physicians abroad do not face these decisions. Not one bit. My medical education also makes my opinion even more invalid.

Let’s get high! 

Let’s talk about legalizing marijuana. Honestly, I have no idea why this is even an issue. Marijuana should not be legalized. Whether hippie liberals believe it’s of benefit or not is out of the question. Marijuana is a known hallucinogen and it has been associated with other medical conditions as well (check this). The fact that it’s even a question on the ballot is, in my opinion, absolutely silly. And many Americans seem to agree with me on this. Conversely, many seem to disagree. Nothing should come between them and their pot – not even common sense. So now when marijuana-caused adverse incidents increase, who’s to blame?

Hope or lack thereof 

Once the results of the elections were almost certainly pointing to an Obama victory, the rhetoric changed into people who decided that their country is now a hub of communism with Obama being the world’s new version of Hitler. They were no longer proud to be Americans. Their country is such a disgrace. On the other side of the spectrum, you have those whose pride and hope in the US has just been re-established. And I sat wondering: if these citizens of the world’s biggest economy, toughest superpower and leading nation are this weak-minded, what does this say about all of us living in absolute hell-holes? I then realized that Americans need to toughen up. Their convictions regarding their country should not be this weak. They should not waver because of an election, regardless of results – especially not when their country has so much to offer to them. When your country is envied by many, you are not allowed to be this weak towards it and this goes to those who gained back hope and those who lost it.

Hollywood

The absolute majority of Hollywood actors and actresses, even some who hadn’t made their opinion known before, came out in support for Obama as the results were unveiled, which was very much expected. Some, such as Whoopi Goldberg, subtly accused all those who were dissatisfied with Obama’s victory with racism and invited them to get the “crap outta here.” Very smooth.

Trump’s Wig

Donald Trump was absolutely freaking out. He even called for a revolution and was immediately turned into an immediate mashable article. I guess he doesn’t know that revolutions never work for men with wigs. Never, ever.

Canada

The Americans that were dissatisfied with the Obama victory suddenly wanted to move to Canada. I found it odd that they wanted to move to a country which employs many of the policy’s they’re hating on: welfare, same gender marriage, etc… regardless of what I personally think of these policies. Canadians commented that this reflects the lack of knowledge they have of their neighbor to the north.  A level-headed discussion with these Canadians, who preferred Obama, showcased the absolute necessity for Americans to learn more about the world in their education system. After all, for many Lebanon is but a city in Ohio and Canada is that very cold place no one wants to visit. Of course, this does not apply to all Americans because many know more about Lebanon and Canada than many of us but, again, these are just observations.

The Lebanese

The Lebanese people who were observing the elections were many. Once an Obama victory became certain, those with Romney immediately disappeared in typical Lebanese fashion. Those with Obama, however, made it known that they were happy. Some were even more enthusiastic about it than the most enthusiastic of Americans with rhetoric that slipped down, again in typical Lebanese fashion, to lower than the lowest tone employed by pissed off Republicans. It seems that the GOP is a bunch of anti-gay, anti-women, pro-rape, anti-science, anti-environment, anti-common sense, anti-all that is good, pro-religion, pro-everything that is bad. Delusional much? You betcha, à la Palin. But you can’t discuss that with them because they’re Lebanese and one does not have a decent discussion with a Lebanese. I bet they’d be interested to know that the pro-rape senate candidates lost their seats with a lot of Republicans not voting for them.

The Bottom Line

For the rest of the world, nothing will change upon Obama getting re-elected, especially not for us with both of them having similar effective foreign policies. Even when it comes to the internal workings of the United States, very few things will change between now and 2014 with the country being as divided as it is today: the House controlled by the Republicans and the Senate controlled by the Democrats. Obama will have to use his executive function, more than his legislative branch, in order to be able to do anything. And what he’ll be able to do is very limited. Which means that those whose candidate lost have no reason to fear their country would turn into Cuba. And those who won shouldn’t be this comfortable regarding the future because it may not be this bright. A few questions though: Obama’s failure, as perceived by his drastically declining numbers compared to 2008, was attributed to Bush. If nothing changes by 2016, will his failure be attributed to Bush as well?

Will the Republicans see the need for a restructuring of their party away from the radicalization of the Tea Party, one which doesn’t represent the core values of the Republican party, and move towards moderates in order to be able to contain the growing disparity between their views and those of mainstream Americans especially with changes in American demographics which may turn them, if not tackled, into a party that isn’t able to win nationally?

Good luck to president Obama and congrats to those who voted for him. Hard luck to Mitt Romney who gave a phenomenal underdog race to give one of the tightest popular vote results in recent history and hard luck to those who voted for him. However, the winner after the American elections was the whole world for being able to observe democracy being applied at its finest and that is something that all Americans should be proud of.

In other news, I really need a crystal ball to choose winners to back next time. This losing streak of mine has been going on for far too long.

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4 thoughts on “Lebanese Observations of the 2012 United States Presidential Election

  1. “Their convictions regarding their country should not be this weak. They should not waver because of an election, regardless of results – especially not when their country has so much to offer to them. When your country is envied by many, you are not allowed to be this weak towards it and this goes to those who gained back hope and those who lost it.”

    This. Yes. How fortunate we are, even as we struggle with discomfort, it is not at all as bad as it could be.

    It is true, much due to the vastness of North America, that we see ourselves more than anyone else as we are surrounded. And that we can’t see ourselves getting through what is always considered the end of American as we know it, is not a new phenomenon, just turned up to ’11’ lately.
    I’m an Independent voting Third party – I have little in common with either the hard-left Democrats or the Religious Republicans, and knew well that my vote was not to win this election but to try and open up the arena for the next election.
    I was honestly concerned – for the first time in my 45 years – about backlash if Romney won. The atmosphere has become so hostile. But while sharing this truth, am still waiting for something unpleasant now that Obama has been reelected. Not paranoia, just observing the angry, fringe behaviors around me.

    I don’t know how to fix what is broken here.

    Reply
  2. You need to bet on those you wish to lose!

    As for the “anti-gay, anti-women, pro-rape, anti-science, anti-environment, anti-common sense, anti-all that is good, pro-religion, pro-everything that is bad”: I do believe the “Christian Right” (strictly referring to those radical Evangelicals) are a dangerous group for both domestic and foreign politics. Quite frankly I don’t believe in social conservatism to say the least. It’s not my country, but if it were mine I wish they’d drop the social conservatism and focus on the economy. But I’m probably a lot more secular in politics and private than most Americans, so my priorities lie elsewhere.

    As for your marijuana stance, I’m the complete opposite politically, but I respect that. Although I would strongly disapprove of any my family or friends using it. I was kind of surprised this got intertwined with the elections as well. Besides, the legalization they speak of is even far beyond the situation in my country.

    De facto I guess you are right that nothing (or not much) would/will change in the US policy towards the Middle East. Though there’s a difference in attitude, of course. And Mitt Romney was right about “it is in their culture”. He just mentioned one side that’s his fault. There’s no Palestinian, Arab or Israeli leader willing to make a painful concession. If there are they either end up dead, marginalized or overrun. There’s no leader with the guts of Europe’s post-war leadership. Though it took the latter very horrible events to step away from the vengeance “culture”, and partly under great foreign pressure.

    Reply
  3. I was annoyed by the Lebanese who felt compelled to rub it in the faces of those who supported Romney.
    I was annoyed by the other Americans who suddenly thought every differing opinion by non-Americans is invalid, their policies affect the world as much as anything else. The world doesn’t get a say in what they choose but they get an opinion and it is never invalid.

    Good piece.

    Reply
  4. As Patricia says, I also “have little in common with either the hard-left Democrats or the Religious Republicans” and am an Independent who voted mostly “third party” candidates (Libertarian in my case).
    As for your dismissal of those who vote for legalization of marijuana, I have to disagree. Not all voters have their personal recreational interest in it or it’s possibly harmful effects in mind when deciding on how to vote. The “War on Drugs” has to be re-examined as to whether it decreases or increases crime. Many point out that the laws of the Prohibittion era opened the way for the establishment of the mafia In the U.S.A. They wouldn’t have grown like they did if they didn’t have the monopoly on the market for alcohol.
    From a recent article in The Economist:
    “Between 40% and 70% of American pot is reckoned to be grown in Mexico.”
    And “the Mexican Institute for Competitiveness (IMCO), a think-tank in Mexico City,…estimates that Mexico’s traffickers would lose about $1.4 billion of their $2 billion revenues from marijuana.”
    “The effect on some groups would be severe: the Sinaloa “cartel” would lose up to half its total income”.
    We can’t get rid of marijuana usage in society, it’s worth more to focus on reducing the power of dangerous gangs & cartels in North American society by decriminalizing marijuana– a major source of their income.

    As far as Obama goes, the big test for him will be if he truly makes an effort to reduce the deficit. He would be wise revisit the suggestions of the Bowles-Simpson commission!

    Reply

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