Okay, so we now know that the right wingers of the USA were running scared because exit pollsters (those guys who ask you who you voted for after you exit the booth) were somehow dooped into thinking that it was a Kerry landslide.
Could it have been any more opposite? The Replicans cleared the Democratic table like a guest at Christmas turkey dinner. We're talking the presidency, senate, and house of representatives. I would offer the Democrats a wishbone for good luck next time, but Trent Lott and friends are currently ramming it down Tom Daschle's throat. I could wax philosophic for pages and pages about how it is that team Bush managed to pull this off, but suffice to say, the American public made a very conscious choice to ignore certain mistakes and failings in favour of a man who "shares their values". Blind faith is great, isn't it?
Seriously, folks, saddle up and get ready for a crazy four year ride. Now that the majority of the US public has endorsed the policies and overall behaviour and conduct of these people, you will see a fundamental shift in world opinion towards Americans. Note my choice of words. Americans, not America. One must consider that right now, you can ask residents of some of the most vehemently anti-American countries in the world, and they will contextualize their stance as being against the US government and its policies, but professing a love for the American people. Mostly. Now that the citizens of the worlds only superpower have given Bush a blank cheque despite the mounting evidence of corruption and lies, it will be a lot harder to give the average American the benefit of the doubt. It is one thing to hate a particular leader, party, or even government. It is quite another to start disliking the people who are ultimately responsible for putting that government in power.
For decades, the world has refused to hold Americans accountable as a people for the actions and policies of their leaders. The jihadist nut-jobs decided to change that a la' 911. At first, the world was shocked and horrified that innocent blood would be shed just to send a message to the Bush administration (and all past administrations). Most of the planet rallied around the USA to go after Al Queda and associates. Popular opinion started playing reversi when Bush started shoving Iraq. It will get even worse now that the Americans have failed to hold their leader accountable. Its one thing to make the fundamentalist Muslims hate you, they were dying for an excuse anyway. But the rest of the free world? Not a great idea.
What complicates this matter is that we now have John Kerry being a true American and pledging to support Bush to help unite the country. This is a common trait of their political system. Sure enough, in this "time of war", it is likely that the Democrats will become more cooperative for at least two years, until it comes time to start gearing up for the next election. In the meantime, mainstream Democratic legislators will likely undermine their own moral authority by climbing over themselves to follow "the American way" by sticking up for Bush. Again, at least for the next two years. This of course will leave the rest of the planet feeling a bit betrayed by political leaders who, just two days ago, pledged to reach out to the world community. They can't exactly facilitate that with no real political power, so, mark my words, they will give Bush a similar kind of support that he experienced shortly after 9-11.
It's a little different in Canada. The day after our federal election, Stephen Harper wasn't exactly talking about unity and standing behind our leader. He was concilliatory, but the underlying message in his concession speech was not "we're with you Paul", it was more like, "See you at work tomorrow, asshole."
Our system has its own flaws, but the American system still scares me.
Oh well. On to happier things.