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Letter from America

Filed in: politics, Wed, Oct 20 2004 09:21 PT

From: Dublin, Ireland

I was afraid this would happen. British lefties are engaged in a campaign coordinated by the London Guardian to send letters to undecided voters in the States.

Before I say this, full disclosure: I want Bush to lose this election. Badly. I even joined the Democratic Party in earnest for this election cycle.

Don’t help. Please.

Americans know that wherever they go, they’re going to get lectured about politics. I’m a political animal myself, and even I’ve found ways to short-circuit the inevitable rant. (You can’t out-anti-American me. Stop trying.) We are going to respond poorly to receiving letters from outside the United States, even when we’re sympathetic to the sentiment. And if the states where these letters are received end up breaking Republican as a result, a lot of the Americans who are on your side, or at least on Kerry’s side, are going to be super-pissed. Indignant. And more closed off to the world than ever. Especially if Bush wins as a side effect.

So, to those of you who are doing this, I ask:

Don’t help.


I’m begging.

4 responses to “Letter from America”

  1. Kevin Cheng says:

    That’s interesting because – as a neighbour – I’ve wanted to have some impact instead of bitching. When I saw this, I was seriously thinking about writing a letter. Not a rant or a lecture mind you but a simple “here’s how I feel as a person who has lived in America during Bush’s presidency and a person who now sees it from outside as well.”

    Actually more likely, I’d want to start a dialogue, simply to converse and see the person’s view. Lecturing, as Howard Gardner might say, is not the way to change people’s minds.

  2. Kevin Cheng says:

    One more thing. If you’re American, the saying goes, “if you don’t vote, you have no right to say anything.” For me, I have no right to vote for your country, nor should I but who gets elected directly affects me. So I bitch. Now that I see there’s SOMEthing I can do well … it’s hard to just bitch and not do anything. Thoughts?

  3. bryan says:

    “For me, I have no right to vote for your country, nor should I but who gets elected directly affects me. ”
    Well the obvious thing would be trying to affect your country’s politics so that it is not as closely tied to the U.S as it has been.

    I figure a Bush election will prompt a lot of countries to break ties with the U.S, probably not publicly, but initial moves will be undertaken to make each nation less dependent on the U.S. This is in fact why I would like to see Bush win. I figure not only does he lessen American influence in the world, he also helps to impoverish the country and deplete its military might. Of course this may be poor reasoning on my part.

    maybe this is what the Guardian is thinking too. However my understanding is that it’s a joke on their part.

    I do think it would be nice if Kerry won though, if war crimes trials would be brought against most of this administration. But they wouldn’t so I’m somewhat uncaring.

  4. Matt May says:

    There’s a right time to have a political dialogue with Americans, in my opinion. Two weeks before an election is not that time.

    I think a lot of people are going to get these letters and think immediately that the Kerry campaign put them up to this. And that opens them up to thinking about all of the nasty Republican smears that have been used sort of sotto voce in his direction (how dare he speak a foreign language, the damn commie!) Kerry gets battered by the Republican machine for even talking about multilateralism. And I think most people are well aware that locking ourselves inside a little box isn’t the best foreign policy, but when it sounds like Kerry is operating in coalition with foreign leaders to govern the United States, people get itchy. Which is why I think this approach will only make them more itchy.

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