Someone asked me recently why is it that I am interested in the presidential election in the USA while living in Ireland.
My answer was that unfortunately in the world we have inherited at this moment it still matters to me and most everyone else who is elected in countries that are major international players and most important of all in the powerful USA. Of course, in truth, massive media coverage helps also!
That so much lies on one election to me seems a very simplistic model where the role of president, though not omnipotent, is altogether too powerful. There is a vibrancy and newness in America political life also that seems to allow for substantially different outcomes, that perhaps in a country like Ireland we lack, this is a good thing in terms of political stimulation, but also a bad thing in terms of risk.
In the future it would be reassuring if the president became more like a prime minister and the decision to go to war or not was made a much more distributed one. In the future it would also be great if we could increase local political involvement around the world, strengthen our national democracies and attempt to inspire politicians who are not aligned to particular interest groups to the obvious detriment of others but rather servants of all the people.
So, from this vantage point Bernie is a wonderful accident. I cannot imagine that a country so recently disentangled from the ideological battle of half a century and more of capitalism versus communism could have countenanced any degree of appealing to socialist principles (even if the Scandinavian and not the authoritarian mode was in question) at any point before this.
The 80s and 90s saw a run on liberalising the market and particularly the financial markets, and what was hinted at in the Enron scandal of the early noughties rang eerily true when one looks at the financial supporters that this rogue company had amassed….the same institutions to the fore of 2008 collapse, or, in short, the financial system.
The deregulation which had short term boosts was in ways not the financial sector’s fault, but the politicians, the inevitable crash and payback was…inevitable….it might be likened to leaving a wolf in a sheep’s den and then blaming the wolf for the ensuing blood loss. There must logically be counterbalances in these things. In particular the socialisation of the losses showed a really powerless political class being bullied by the corporate class in this power game.
Politicians must endeavour to represent all of their constituents, and the notion of their being ‘bought’ by corporate donations is quite obviously a recipe for major problems. In Ireland it’s a different form, as a smaller economy, Irish politicians started down a route of being generous to companies to try to entice their setting up here, then giving a little more, and then becoming so terrified of these companies leaving to other shores that the prostitution is complete and near limitless now.
In America the economy is still big enough to wield more power over the companies and to push for a rebalancing of power, if it wants to….and a significant percentage of its people seem to wish so. After the dust settled very gradually post the 1929 crash some sensible regulation of financial services were introduced as well as the socialism of the New Deal. It would strike me that the election of Bernie Sanders at any other juncture between then and now would be wildly unlikely – this really is once in a lifetime stuff.
I do not want to present an argument against any other candidate, but just to highlight that having a candidate that has a lifetime of dedication to what is now perfectly timed is most unlikely to occur again, getting so far in politics obviously happens to so few, but to add being a politician who is not pliable to temporary pragmatism at the loss of principle and so often going against the grain of the moment but not history is incredibly unlikely. All of these biographical details are in fact required if such a rebalancing act is to be successfully undertaken.
So, dear America, I guess that in most other choices you will disappoint the candidates who don’t get the job, but in Bernie I imagine his personal disappointment would be minimal, it is the rest of us, the many people around the world, literally who want to see this rebalancing, who appreciate that during accelerating technological advance in fact many of the overly corporate friendly constructs become even less tenable logically, economically and morally.
In the future, most importantly, it would be simply great if we could find means to address international politics in a much more mature manner. If we could take the international machinations with the UN, and the International Courts and the UN peacekeeping force and strengthen these by iteration until the globe – while respecting national differences – becomes a place where international relations are also subject to the law, and a law that is enforced. I’m sure America wouldn’t mind becoming part of a global peacekeeping force that would allow it to trim its defense budget drastically and also be a part of a group that through independent judiciary could without fear of significant losses enforce peace in a situation like Syria a number of years ago at this point. We have used these modes of collective intelligence across nation states with press, judiciary, police and politics all vying with each other to keep general peace for decades its extension would save literally millions of lives. Considering the might of Eisenhower’s military industrial complex; this too could only really be pushed by a President not for sale
So, from Ireland, please pick Bernie…..last edited on Septemeber 1st 2016 it tells me
It is now 06/07/2017 please pick Bernie in 2020….pretty please!!