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View Diary: As Others See Us (244 comments)

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  •  Hate to be harsh (none)
    but the 49% who voted against the Republicans don't really agree with us.  The Democratic Party, nice as it is compared to the alternative, would be the party of the centre-right most places.  

    It's not the 51% Republican vote that makes us think you're a right-wing country, it's that (pulling numbers out of a hat for the sake of illustration) maybe half of the Democratic constituency is right of what we would call the centre, and maybe a quarter of the rest are hardly very far to the left of it at all.  

    Making the USA a country that looks (from my perspective, at least) like a 1:2:5 (left:centre:right) country, where I'm used to 1:3:4, 2:3:3 or even 3:3:2 countries.  

    •  This is true (none)
      Compared to most European countries, the US has two parties on the right: the extreme right and "normal" right.  Apparently there is no left in the US.

      "Liberal" parties in Europe are firmly on the right.

      Just as an illustration here is the lineup of Danish political parties, more or less right to left

      (right)
      12% Danish People's Party (nationalistic, xenophobic, anti EU)
      31% The Liberal Party (economic liberalism)
       9% The Conservative Party (classic God, King and Fatherland)
       2% The Popular Christian Party

      (centre)
       5% The Social Liberal Party

      (left)
      29% The Social Democrats
       6% The Socialists
       2% The List of Unity (ex-communists et.al)

      The Republicans and the Democrats more or less cover the area of the liberal and the conservative party, and some parts of the nationalistic party (which together happen to be in power in Denmark now).

      Normally we have centre-right goverments or centre-left governments.  The current right-wing governments is out of the usual.

      •  this is true (none)
        Wow, Chief, that's a lot of right wingers, in case you didn't notice.  Far more than there are lefties.  Many of us are dismayed at the two party system.  And not all that long ago there was a viable Independent party that ran a strong candidate for president (John Anderson?) The Reagan era damaged this country in ways we are only now beginning to understand.  

        Still, I look at the split in your country, and really it doesn't look that much better.  Many smaller parties, but weighted on the right with nationalists and monarchists.  

        I read Alexander Cockburn's crowing assessment of the election and I remembered Robert Fisk's initial response to the bombings of September 11th, which were pulled off the 'net for being utterly insensitive and gloating before the dead had even been counted. I'm angry, but I'm not going to start blaming the Democrats.  We tried. And I refuse to resort to self-immolation to convince anyone how bad I feel about George Bush.  

        We voted, we worked, we tried, we lost.  We know the problem, we will have to live with the damage that's been done and fight every step of the way to get our country back.  We're already somewhat hysterical about the future we face.  Reading Galiel's diary yesterday (Galiel, Enochian ministering angel) brought back every fear my Auschwitz-surviving parents instilled in me, that a descent into Fascism was coming, that sooner or later the Christians Right will turn on anyone who hasn't accepted their doctrine (like Jews).  

        It is important for us, and for you Europeans, to keep before you the knowledge that 49% of Americans did vote for a man who wanted very much to reconcile America with the rest of the world, to bring Americans back to seeing themselves as part of a larger, human community.  At a time like this, we need you and you need to remember that we are here, we are many, and we are mourning our loss.  
         

        •  Right wing is not necessary the same (none)
          The Danish right wing have had to promise not to touch the welfare system, which to many Americans will look like pure socialism.  We have a 95% state run health care system and education free of charge until the phd level.  We have public child and senior care.  The right have been forced to accept all that, and if they cut too deep, they are out tomorrow, because the welfare system is close to sacrosant here.  One of the staunchest defendents of the welfare system is the nationalist party, which on social issus are left, but right on law and order and immigration.

          Also, there is almost no religious right here.  The right mostly defines itself in terms of economic and personal freedom, not religion.

      •  Liberal Parties In Europe (none)
        Not all Liberal parties in Europe are on the right. For instance both D66 in the Netherlands and the Liberal Democrats in the UK are on the centre-left. In Europe the positioning of Liberals in the political spectrum tends to depend whether they are 'social' liberals (on the left) or 'economic' liberals (on the right).

        A recent study in the Uk has shown that on average most people consider themselves to be just left of centre. The Labour Party and the Liberal Democrats are perceived to be just to the left of the electorate, although ironically Labour leader Tony Blair is considered to be just to the right of the voting public. The Conservatives and their leader are considered to be way off to the right. This perhaps explains why conservatism is in perhaps even direr straits in the UK than liberalism in the US.

        Another significant difference between the US and the UK is between men and women. In the US women appear to vote to the left of men, while in the UK men have traditionally voted to the left of women.

        Finally, it is very difficult for UK citizens, at least outside of Northern Ireland, to understand the role of religion in American politics. In the UK most people do not like to see religion and politics mixed. Religion is seen as a private matter. Given the place that religion seems to play in most American politicians platforms it would be difficult to see how they would be able to secure election in the largely secular society that we have in the UK, excluding NI.

        Dean

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