Monday, September 1


It is hard to discuss American politics, or world politics in general, when having grown up in the extremely secure and well-functioning Scandinavian social democracy. So we realise its faults and we endorse the healthy criticism around the different, but perhaps not so very variegated political parties. Subsequently the Scandinavian, or perhaps especially Norwegian attitude is that this system applied everywhere would obviously end all world turmoil. When you simply want to embrace the social democracy, the welfare state, the liberal attitudes to women and immigrants, the appropriately humble prime ministers dining in their small, eastside, baby boomer kitchenettes with their families, it is easy to overlook the social currents in other countries that might make such situations impossible.

Naturally, the left wing of Norwegian parliamentarism and media have embraced Barack Obama. Even though if displaced to Norway, his social and economic policies would have landed him securely in the central right. When he says that he wants his daughters to have the same possibilities as the sons of others, we think, Of course? Adapting a republican stance would be seen as simply politically incorrect. The Republican party measured by a Norwegian scale would be on the ridiculous side of nationalism, adorned with a solid dose of religious bias sans "loving-one's-next" if he or she should be, godforbid, homosexual or pro-choice. John McCain would have been raving on his own to muttered signs of disapproval from the liberal elite, spending his free time suing authors of YouTube videos that dared liken his views to Hitler's, Sarah Palin (a chapter of her own) would have been a gun-toting village original, writing angry letters printed ironically in the day press from her hut in the forest. (Secure sources in the Department of Foreign Affairs say that this would be a hut on chicken legs).

Despite the leftist approval of Barack Obama, perhaps because he is the most similar to what they can identify with, applying the social democracy we love to hate but defend with all our might to somewhere like USA or Russia might not be a reasonable possibility. When one half of what we with a smirk on our lips call "a civilised country" truly and honestly think that a woman's work is less worth than that of a man, that abortion is not a right that should be freely endorsed, that any man should be able to keep firearms because "its not my responsibility if someone should come in our way, now", when this factor is applicable, it does no longer seem logical to suddenly toss in the social democracy. And with certain former Soviet countries, the case would seem to be that people hungry for power would destroy and abuse the system from its core. The Israel-Palestine conflict is marred by deep religious beliefs; it is naïve to think otherwise, that once people look beyond this the conflict is easily soluble, because religion which does not hold an important stance with us, is the very fundament of so many things we disagree with. What we do not understand, angers us.

But hapless Norwegian optimism surely encourages us to look beyond these faults and flaws. We hope for the best, of course. And when John McCain lifts his askew arms to swear his solemn oath we will shake our heads like the laws of gravity were just broken.

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