The British public will always remember the 5th of November for two reasons:
1) Our government and monarchy let us rain free through the streets of Britain shooting off as many fireworks as we like, creating humongous fires and making full use of the fire services and ER on this night.
And 2) It could very well be the last date we held any respect for you.
You see, like a lot of non-US citizens, I’ve been following the run-up to the US election with great curiosity. It hasn’t quite had the comedy value that 2008 brought us with Sarah Palin’s fabulous impersonation of an ignorant, blabbering idiot (Wait, what? She was for real?) but it’s still scared the shit out of many of us who’ve come to hold the United States in quite high regards.
I’ve been given my orders by the man to clue you up on what I mean:
You see, up until four years ago, we all genuinely considered America to be full of ignorant, stupid fat morons. My words are horribly blunt but unfortunately true. While Americans lived in what they considered to be “the greatest country in the world,” they seemed to be completely unaware that they were actually the butt of all jokes in every other country.
I can’t speak for everywhere but it’s fair to say that Europe’s recent problems with the US stemmed from one man: George W. Bush.
Across the Atlantic, we can’t deny that we’ve also had a bit of a sketchy past when it comes to politics. I was born into a working class family during Thatcher’s reign and, as such, brought up to know the truth about our government – That they didn’t give a shit about anyone earning less than £30,000 a year. In 1997, an idealistic Labour Party leader burst into our lives with promises to help the forgotten classes and change everything. That man was Tony Blair. He spoke of social justice, he spoke of education, and he spoke of the environment. He was to be Britain’s saviour.
And, for a while, he was alright. He wasn’t perfect but he was actively working on turning things around and a vast improvement from the Tories.
Meanwhile we laughed at the monkey across the pond who was running the most powerful country in the world. Who the hell let this guy in charge?
And, wait, what the hell was Blair doing spending all his time with him? Sharing jokes, shaking hands, posing for cheesy grins.
We joined the war.
Bush was a murderer. And now Tony Blair was.
We hated Blair. And we hated Bush.
Our Prime Minister was Bush’s lapdog and, worse still, Bush had been re-elected. The United States were apparently showing us that they weren’t as pissed off about the decisions the man in charge was making as we were. In fact, our media did all it could to throw newsreels, documentaries, Youtube clips and everything else of ridiculous things Americans were saying when it came to world politics. We were given a picture of the United States as a country full of overly-patriotic, bigoted, religious zealots who’d blindly do anything their president asked of them.
We were angry. We did not want any part of this war. We hated our government for following your lead and not being like France and Germany. We lost all respect for you.
And then Obama appeared.
And we witnessed something we hadn’t seen in years: Passion. Passion from him. Passion from the people.
The only time we’d seen this kind of passion before was in Hollywood films. We’d certainly never experienced it in our country. Do you think Brits would be in hysterics if their Prime Minister was assassinated the way JFK was? Shocked and shaken? Yes. Upset and devastated? No.
We’d been excited for Labour’s glory over the Tories in 1997 but none of it compared to the love and devotion we were seeing for Barack Obama. We couldn’t believe it.
The silent voices that had been lost among the sea of Bush supporters thrown onto our TVs were rising up. Just over half of America was showing that it wasn’t as bigoted and backward as we thought. It was amazing.
We followed every single debate, every single speech, every single campaign piece from the United States. Who was this country going to put their faith in? This well-spoken, well-educated, charming man who spoke logically and would become the first African American President or an old veteran who’d chosen a woman who could match Bush in ridiculousness to be his sidekick?
We threw election parties and stayed up until 5am, crowding around our televisions with crossed fingers, waiting to see what would happen.
And then the results were in: Barack Obama was the President of the United States.
People had come out in droves to vote for him and show the world that they cared.
The United States of America were awesome and we were still stuck with Gordon Brown.
And then our downward spiral continued. We voted David Cameron and the Tories back in. And Nick Clegg disappointed us.
You guys? You still had Obama. In four years he caught and killed bin Laden, he signed the order to close the torture camp at Guantanamo Bay, he made the environment a national priority and a primary source for job creation, he REFORMED HEALTHCARE (why the fuck you guys are so opposed to universal healthcare is beyond me), he saved Wall Street, he shifted the focus of the war from Iraq to Afghanistan (The place you were aiming for in the first place!), and he actively supports gay marriage. Believe it or not, this is just a teeny, itsy-bitsy tiny snippet of what he’s actually accomplished.
But all of you bitched and moaned anyway.
Don’t you guys realise how much damage Bush did to your country? Don’t you realise how much he royally fucked you over? Do you think that’s an easy thing to repair in just four short years? Don’t you realise that Obama himself has gained you back the respect of every country in the world? Don’t you realise how much some of us would love to have a leader like him?
You have a progressive leader. We don’t.
“You only have to look at England to see the tsunami of diversity that Obama’s brought to global politics. I mean, Cameron, Clegg, Miliband. We wouldn’t have any of these guys without Obama. Pasty, white losers.” – Jon Richardson, Comedian.
If you don’t want him, send him over, please! We’d be grateful!
I speak for Europe when I ask you to use your vote tomorrow. Use your vote and use it well. Please.
I’m not even going to sugarcoat it by telling you just to vote for whoever you want. For the love of all things holy and sacred, do not choose a racist, sexist, elitist, homophobic liar to represent your country again.
I’m a self-confessed America-phile and do not want to see a country I adore and love turn to waste. Don’t lose our respect again. Your decision will affect the country I love (you), it’ll affect my homeland (UK), and, of course, it’ll affect the country I currently live in (Mexico). It’ll affect the world.
We’re counting on you.
Do the right thing.