Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The USA: Politically Schizophrenic

Don’t get me wrong, I love America. I love New York, Washington (both DC and the state), Philadelphia and a whole host of other cities and places in that broad land mass. Which is why I often wonder how a country like America can elect a cretin like George W Bush.

The answer, really, is twofold. First of all, I think you have to acknowledge the fact that the Democrats ran a couple of political cretins of their own against him. But the other problem lies in the fact that America is almost too diverse and too broad not to elect someone like Bush Junior. America suffers from political schizophrenia.

Take this story. The story itself is extreme and is a bit of a mind-fuck – a religious leader telling a 14 year old girl that she has to marry and shag her 19 year old cousin or go to hell. But it is the little asides in the article that really get to me. Take this sentence:

"Under Utah law a 14-year-old can consent to sex, but not if they are enticed by someone at least three years older."
Of course, sex with a minor is fine, as long as that person isn't at least 3 years older. Makes all the f*cking difference. It is bad enough that the USA is one of those countries that executes minors, but now we learn that you can fuck ‘em as well. As long as you are not too much older than them.

And the description of the requirements of the FLDS church:

"Members believe a man must marry at least three wives in order to ascend to heaven. Women are taught that their path to heaven depends on being subservient to their husband."
"Nice". A man has to have not just three wives, but actually at least three wives. Which is fine with the women, because they are taught that they have to be subservient to their husband. Remember, this isn't the Old Testament I’m describing: I’m talking about people in America today.

And finally:
"Polygamy is illegal in the US, but the authorities have reportedly been reluctant to confront the FLDS for fear of sparking a tragedy similar to the 1993 siege of the Branch Davidian sect in Waco, Texas, which led to the deaths of about 80 members."
Riiiiggghht, so it is OK to break the law in the US as long as the authorities feel that there is a risk of mass murder and/or mass suicide. This is the "Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave", apparently.

See, these people – as backward, reactionary and downright fucked up as their beliefs are – have a vote in the US. And that is why the likes of Bush can win elections. By the very nature of democracy, sometimes appealing to the lowest common denominator in a country can be crucial to electoral success – and just as important as aspiring to greater and more worthy ideals. And I can imagine every liberal in the US, as they cringe with despair as their boss lurches from one catastrophe to another, can understand the irony that makes up democracy – everyone having the vote is simultaneously a great concept but also can be a disastrous practicality.

10 comments:

assegai mike said...

I'm sorry, but this is a very thin gruel. USA is a vast nation of divergent peoples, but the stuff you cite relates to very tiny minority whackos. Besides, that 14 plus three thing seems pretty sensible to me (teenagers are going to have consentual under-age sex with each other no matter what the law says). Attack the US by all means, but I think there is plenty of more significant fucked-up stuff you can come up with if you but go looking.

I don't think the Christian Right is really relevant here. If you put up two candidates who are Cunt 1 and Cunt 2, you're going to get a cunt, as you have suggested. And I don't think this is an American speciality: we Europeans do it too.

rightwingprof said...

"Under Utah law a 14-year-old can consent to sex, but not if they are enticed by someone at least three years older."

If you think about it, this makes a great deal of sense. It's illegal for, say, a 40 year-old man to screw a minor, as it should be, but two minors are an entirely different situation. About a year ago, another state (I really don't remember which one) that did not have a clause like this enacted one because a 14 year-old boy was convicted of statutory rape, which carries a lifelong sex offender status.

And the FLDS, well yes, we have cults, and this is one. There's a price you pay for religious freedom. They avoid prosecution mostly by staying under the radar. The rather sensationalist article neglects to mention that they're quite, quite small. They certainly have no political clout in the US.

The Nameless One said...

On the contrary, the Christian Right is fundamental to the success of George W Bush, in particular in the 2004 election. He (or more properly, Karl Rove) mobilised a coalition of those who wanted a War President in the White House and those who wanted a devout Christian in the White House to win that election. The Christian Right is crucial to American politics, and the FLDS represents the extreme end of that part of American politics.

It is important to remember that this is not an attack on the USA - quite the opposite. However I do think a nation that is quite as diverse as the US is going to suffer from political schizophrenia, which either leads to compromise (and compromised) candidates becoming President (like Clinton) or a divisive figure (like Bush Junior) becoming President. American society does seem to becoming increasingly polarised, and the unnerving behaviour of those on the extremes of that society can serve as warnings to what is going on in that country. I look at the racists in the BNP in this country, for example, with deep concern - not just because they are ignorant fucktards but rather because they do have an appeal to some people in this country because of their racism.

I agree that you are never going to stop teenagers having sex, but there is a big difference in my mind between two fourteen year olds shagging a nineteen year old boy (and this is more than 14 plus 3 btw) fucking his fourteen year old cousin. And the fact that the FLDS is tolerated even though it flouts US law should be a concern.

vervet said...

DK: "... I often wonder how a country like America can elect a cretin like George W Bush."

AND

"... a religious leader telling a 14 year old girl that she has to marry and shag her 19 year old cousin or go to hell."

Sorry DK, but considering your second quote I just don't see what causes you to wonder.

Mark Wadsworth said...

TNO, I don't actually get this whole "polygamy is illegal" thing (in US or elsewhere), why is it not just the case that second and subsequent marriages are just legal nullities and of no effect?

Sure, if somebody has been duped, they should be able to claim damages and so on, but that is as between spouses, not between state and polygamist or indeed polyandrist, and whatever corresponding term for gays and lesbians is, have they invented one yet?

Rory Meakin said...

"Of course, sex with a minor is fine, as long as that person isn't at least 3 years older. Makes all the f*cking difference."

I think it does. There's the world of difference between a 14yo having sex with 17yo and, say, a 37yo. It's a arbitrary nightmare distinguishing the difference between two adolescents exploring their sexuality and a predatory adult taking advantage of a minor, but this law seems more sensible, and somewhat less arbitrary, than a simple binary divide between consent and rape at a given age.

nbc said...

For f*cks sake. Bush may, or may not, be a cretin but either way he has absolutely nothing to do with this.

This rant should be directed at the State Legislature in Utah.

As for your "loving the USA but how could they blah blah blah" Utter bollocks. Love it or hate it, they did, it's none of your business, live with it.

The Nameless One said...

Mark, I kind of agree with your comments on polygamy, I do struggle with any ideology that requires subservience from anyone else. I support people to believe in what ever they like, but I also support my right to say their ideas are arse.

Rory, I do entirely see where you are coming from but I feel that there 19 year old fucking a 14 year old is closer to the paedophile model than the 14 year old fucking the 14 year old. Obviously it will vary from case to case, but the general gap in maturity between a 14 year old and a 19 year old does not sit well with me and may represent the older person exploiting the younger person.

NBC: Read the post and read the comment I made above. I have issues with the church concerned representing the extreme end of the Christian Right who put Bush Junior in the White House. And I have a problem with laws not being enforced - both at state level and at national level - because of the Waco massacre. And don't fucking presume to tell me what is and isn't my fucking business. I have a right to express my opinion, even if it isn't positive on some issues.

TNO

Tristan said...

Not sure what your complaint is here.

The 14 year old law is sensible, teenagers will always have sex (they always have). Its better than putting someone on the sex offenders register for getting a blow job from a 15 year old when you're 16.

Polygamy - so long as all participants consent to it then what's the problem? I doubt that they're all married in the eyes of the US government anyway - one will be married officially, the others in the eyes of the church.

Of course the US is diverse, that is part of what's wonderful about it. Its also the reason that the US needs to get back to its constitution as a union of independent states which form a congress to assist each other with only those powers numerated in the constitution granted to the federal government.

The Nameless One said...

Tristan,

"The 14 year old law is sensible, teenagers will always have sex (they always have). Its better than putting someone on the sex offenders register for getting a blow job from a 15 year old when you're 16."

And yet in this case a 19 year old who has sex with a 14 year old is not prosecuted. Ok, the law is not being enforced, but I do see a difference between a 15 year old humping a 16 year old and a 19 year old banging a fourteen year old.

"Polygamy - so long as all participants consent to it then what's the problem? I doubt that they're all married in the eyes of the US government anyway - one will be married officially, the others in the eyes of the church."

Well, in this case the polgamy was consented to under duress but I digress. I do have an issue with a country having a law against something, then not enforcing it. If a law is worth having, then it is worth enforcing. For what it is worth, the polgamy thing per se does not bother me. The duress (of what one commenter here called a cult) does. In order for a man to ascend to heaven he must have at least three wives. For a woman to ascend to heaven, she must be totally subservient to their other half. Sure, I support their right to have these crazy beliefs but you know what? I stand by my right to find those beliefs a little repugnant. And say so.

"Of course the US is diverse, that is part of what's wonderful about it. Its also the reason that the US needs to get back to its constitution as a union of independent states which form a congress to assist each other with only those powers numerated in the constitution granted to the federal government."

I like the diversity of the US, so I wouldn't necessarily read what I have written as a complaint against the US. However the diversity of the US is causing problems at federal level. You either get Presidents like Clinton who try to impress everyone but end up doing very little for fear of causing offence, or you have Presidents like Bush who go all out and probably alienate a clear majority of people within that country. My observation is simple - the US is now so broad that federal government is deeply flawed as a concept. Which also means I agree with your point - increased independence to the states under the limited umbrella of federal government is the way forward and would help to negate this political schizophrenia. I also find the increased demands for states rights in the US interesting when you consider the European Union project - the sway of global politics appears to be towards increased independence of both nations and states at exactly the same time as those leading the European Union increase their power over member states.