Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Election Update: Salon Snippets

  I repaired to the hairdressers', a small, friendly co-operative and my usual source of local gossip. On the way, I noticed the "America vs Obama" signs were still up, if coated in morning frost. On the radio, a woman who described herself as the one "lonely little Democrat in Tennessee", said she'd had to build a fence around her Vote Obama sign and it had still been vandalised.  That's the South for you. They're not like that in Western New York.
  My hairdresser is my barometer of political feeling, the Cattaraugus County equivalent of the man on the Clapham Omnibus. Today, she had something of a "plague on both your houses" attitude, lamenting that there was no chance of a consensus in Congress, that both sides were these days forced, in draconian fashion, to toe the party line. "You should see how our Parliament works," I remarked, "they're at each others' throats half the time. Well not literally of course - they're meant to stay a couple of swords' lengths apart..  (She got a kick out of that) Maybe you shouldn't be afraid of a few political differences."  
  My private theory is that Americans, as a nation, are too polite. A few political campaigners heckling or flinging out the odd snide remark and they faint in coils, paricularly if it's the other side making the remarks. (The new democracies in eastern Europe were a bit like that at first. And America is still young.) Another voice I heard in a radio discussion made an interesting point. You either constantly try to reach a consensus and hope something will emerge, or you accept that there are different visions of America's future and one of these is going to be voted in. 
  My hairdresser thought Romney had lost because he was just too vague. "He kept talking about a five point plan but what was it?  He never spelt it out for us."  Well she had a point there.
  Meanwhile I got an email from a devastated Romney-supporting friend in Ohio, the crucial swing state that narrowly sealed Mitt's fate.
  She was, she said, seriously thinking about emigrating, if she could think of where:   "I have been commiserating with the other 50 per cent all day - the 50 per cent of us who walk down the street knowing that every other person we see on the street directly opposes us and our principles of liberty - that the America they envision is not the same country in which I was born and is not the one where I want to die."  I suggested she could try North Korea. That made her laugh, at least.  

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