You Americans. You are a damn funny bunch. Doomsayers. Hehehe! The world isn’t going to come to an end. Your life will still be fine. Really. I promise you. No, I am not talking about the economy. I’m talking about the election coming up in November.
I find it amazing how people paint the worse possible outcome if any of them wins. Oh, it’ll be the end of America as we know it. Depending on who wins the scenarios are either America will be taken over by hardline Christians or fundamental Muslims. Far-right racists or a bunch of bleeding heart liberals. Abortions will take place left, right and centre or individual rights like choice will be taken away forever. America will go into more wars and stay in Iraq forever or be to weak to attack anyone who threatens. Americans will be forced to pay through their necks for a proper health-care system that will cover everyone or the poor will be left behind to die alone without any care. America will be taxed to death to look after the poor or the rich are going to get richer. The corporate world will be regulated to a level where they won’t be able to compete or corporate interests in DC will reach new highs. A black guy or a women… Oh, wait – that one might actually be true. Hahaha. Come on people. Stop drinking the Kool-Aid. You remind me a bit of South Africa back in 1994 when we had our first democratic election.
My dad and my wife’s dad panicked. What will happen if the ANC wins the election. What will happen if we have a black government. Oh God forbid that ever happens. It will be the end of the world as we know it. Oh the country will come to a standstill. Traffic lights (or robots as we call it) will stop working. Electricity will stop running. Gas stations (petrol pumps back home) will run out of petrol. Taps will run dry. And worse of all – the grocery stores will have empty shelves. We will even run out of beer. And that would be bad. Especially if you are South African.
So they stockpiled. They bought canned food – corned beef (or bully beef as we call it) and candles were all the rage back then. Man, my dad bought so much of the stuff he could have opened his own little underground shop if he wanted. And then they started with us. Telling us we must stockpile. Get ready because it is the end of the world as we know it. But they didn’t know the next line of that R.E.M. song – And I feel fine. Because this election was what I fought for and dreamed of. Free, free at last. But we were poor then – my wife and myself. So we couldn’t really say no to any money they were going to throw our way. But it was a bit of a dilemma – we couldn’t lie to them either. Just not ethical. So we divised a little plan. We took the money and stockpiled. Let me qualify that a bit. We did the alternative version of stockpiling. We bought mussels, prawns, perlemoen, crayfish, steak and champagne. All those things we could never afford to buy! We stockpiled to celebrate the win! In style baby.
Well, as you might know I didn’t get along with my dad. But when he died he still had candles and bully beef stuck in his grocery racks. All from back in 1994. Because the stores were stocked and open the next day. And the taps ran crisp clear water. And the electricity kept on going. And the petrol pumps were ready to fill you up. And the banks still had your money in their vaults. Yes. South Africa carried on as the usual. Just as a free and democratic country for the first time. Oh, we had one little problem. We had one huge hang-over from the parties that just went on and on. But no one bitched about that!
So, you see, the more things change the more they stay the same. America will not face what we faced back in 1994. A moment that defines our place in history. The end of an oppressive system. And freedom at last. You don’t need to stockpile. Because whoever wins will not be the worse case scenario you are so frightened of. Yes, McCain will be more ready to go to war and stay in Iraq. And yes, some of the rights America fought for so hard will remain under pressure. And he’ll pander to the right and flip-flop when he doesn’t “misspoke” or forget who is who. And he’ll be bad from a foreign policy perspective. And Hillary will be a hawk. Ready to go to war and obliterate anyone who steps on her toes. And she’ll be more of an empty bag of little substance than most. Dodging bullets and making peace/war wherever she goes (you pick – war in Iraq and peace in Northern Ireland). And yes, Obama is more of an idealist. And idealist who paints a picture of what America should look like tomorrow. And he’ll be more likely to speak and seek peace and compromise than go into war. And he is more wonky than he other two. And yes, he and Hillary are more likely to bring in a universal health-care and strengthen social services. But come one people. They are proud Americans who will give their all to make this great country even greater.
Your water will still drip from the taps. Gas will still flow from the pumps – even if it is a bit more expensive than yesterday. Food will still be at a reasonable price. Your lights will still burn when you flip the switch. Roads will still be fine even if you need to invest in them a bit more. You’ll still have unemployment – but at a low rate. The dollar will still be the global standard. And the world will still catch the flu if you sneeze. You will be just fine. Just fine. Really no need to stockpile.
In actual fact, you will be better than where you are today. And you will hopefully rally behind your new President and tell him/her to go and make you proud. To run this country like a President. Remember. They are willing to do so. They are willing to stand the public attacks from you and their election opponents. They are willing to be scrutinized. At least show some respect for that. You deserve better.
No. Your country deserves a better you. A you that act like a proud and patriotic American. Not like a spoilt child that fears anything and everything. Your country deserves a you that remembers that this country is about what you do to make it better. And it starts with how you will support your new President. And how you treat your own people. Those who are willing to stand up and be counted. Be critical, but don’t be destructive. That is not the American way. Or so I was told.
You don’t need to stockpile. Maybe just a little on decency and on guts. But don’t fear tomorrow. It’s not the of the world as you know it and you’ll feel fine.
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