I lost interest in US politics about 10 years ago. For example I’ve paid almost no attention at all to Barack Obama. But somehow or other it’s got more interesting again recently.
And I think that the main reason for this is that many of the hot button political issues are now the same on both sides of the Atlantic.
Part of the reason for this is that many of the issues are global in character. There are smoking bans almost everywhere in the world, so that’s a global problem for all smokers. And global warming alarmism is necessarily global in its scope. And there’s also something of a global economic slump.
But there are other things that aren’t quite global in character, but are shared problems in both America and Europe. For example illegal immigration, which is becoming a serious problem in both the USA and EU, and which has been picked up by Nigel Farage in the UK, and now Donald Trump in the USA.
There are other shared themes. Like a political class who say one thing and do another. And stifling political correctness (which may actually be another global pandemic).
One big difference is that in Europe we have the EU as a political issue which is absent from US politics. However, if the US federal government in Washington is regarded as the (more successful) US equivalent of the EU government in Brussels, then the same problems of big government and top-down control are shared.
And the net result is that Americans seem to have been taking much more interest in European politics than they used to, and vice versa. Americans and Brits and Europeans, and also Canadians and Australians and New Zealanders, are all wrestling with much the same problems.
Shared political issues may extend even more widely. I was surprised to discover a couple of months back that I was the favourite English blogger of Russian author Dmitry Kosyrev, and that he also held in high esteem the books of Michael McFadden (in Philadelphia). We both tried to make contact with him (me to ask him if he’d like to write a guest article about the Russian smoking ban), but neither of us got a response.
Politics seems to be becoming globalised and synchronised in ways it never used to be.
Add to that the local political issues in the USA that I’ve got engaged with in a small way, like California’s Proposition 29, New Orleans’ smoking ban, and Jariel’s trials in her Virginia home. But that’s because I now see smokers as one people, regardless of their nationality or colour or religion or sex or anything else. An attack on Russian or Chinese smokers is an attack on me (and on all other smokers everywhere). And so I think that the global war on smokers is now creating a shared identity for smokers that they never had before, much in the way that the persecution of the Jews created a new Jewish identity, and a Jewish state. I expect that smokers will become an increasingly vocal (and increasingly powerful and influential) global minority. In fact over the past 10 years quite a few smokers have been becoming vocal in ways they never used to be. And given that there are something like 1.5 billion smokers in the world, they may one day become a very loud voice in that world.
A final politically incorrect (and therefore refreshing) thought. Immigration hasn’t been one of my hot button issues, but I’m taking a lot more interest in it these days. It’s pretty much a global problem, with illegal immigrants pouring across the US border with Mexico, and crossing the Mediterranean in leaky boats, many of which sink.
Why are they all coming? They never used to. Doesn’t it suggest that there’s something gone very wrong in Africa (and perhaps also South and Central America)? And if there are things that are very wrong in those places, isn’t it in those places that the problems really need to be fixed? In Libya we now have, post-Gaddafi, a failed state racked by sectarian and tribal infighting. No wonder people want to escape.
So why not embark on a programme of re-colonisation? Instead of going in and taking out the Saddams and Gaddafis, and then leaving Iraq and Libya to implode into unstable, failed states, why not just go in and stay in, and make then into stable states whose citizens actually want to stay in rather than fleeing somewhere else? That’s horribly politically incorrect, I know, because everybody knows that colonialism was a Bad Thing. But maybe it wasn’t.