Sunday, November 07, 2004

American backlash.

*The US elections are over, but I thought this would be interesting.

In the last couple of weeks, TheGuardian started a controversial campaign for Britons to send in their letters to US voters over at Clark County, Ohio, in an effort to influence them in voting for Sen. John Kerry.

Why, you may ask?

Because TheGuardian believes that the world should have a say in who becomes the next US president. Jonathan Freedland, a regular Guardian writer, posits in his September 22 column that US policy affects the whole world, not just the US.

This election will be decisive not just for the United States but for the future of the world.

Anyone who doubts it need only look at the last four years. The war against Iraq, the introduction of the new doctrine of pre-emption, the direct challenge to multilateral institutions - chances are, not one of these world-changing developments would have happened under a President Al Gore. It is no exaggeration to say that the actions of a few hundred voters in Florida changed the world.
According to the Guardian people, the response they garnered from their readers was overwhelming. 11,000 readers expressed interest to send over their letters to registered voters in Clark County.

As with all big ideas, though, the responses these US voters sent over to Britain were a mixture of gladness, dry wit, anger, and sarcasm. TheGuardian published their responses in this article. Here are a couple.

KEEP YOUR FUCKIN' LIMEY HANDS OFF OUR ELECTION. HEY, SHITHEADS, REMEMBER THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR? REMEMBER THE WAR OF 1812? WE DIDN'T WANT YOU, OR YOUR POLITICS HERE, THAT'S WHY WE KICKED YOUR ASSES OUT. FOR THE 47% OF YOU WHO DON'T WANT PRESIDENT BUSH, I SAY THIS ... TOUGH SHIT!
PROUD AMERICAN VOTING FOR BUSH!

Thank you for taking such an active interest in the elections here in America. I appreciate what the Guardian is doing. Your effort to reach out to "swing states" and make a difference is commendable. I hope that many of your readers will take your challenge to help make a change in Washington by contacting voters.
Clarke County, Georgia

Shame on you for using the people of Ohio like this. The US presidental election isn't just about foreign policy, it's about healthcare, taxes, education, transportation, natural resources and all manner of issues with little to no impact on the people of Britain.

We live in a globalised, interconnected world. If China shuts its borders to US imports, you better believe American companies, shareholders and workers are affected. Should US citizens therefore have a direct say in Chinese policies? No - Americans should demand that their own elected leaders address the issues with their Chinese counterparts. The British have a similar voice in US policies - through your own elected representatives who have any number of diplomatic, economic and military tools at their disposal. You vote for your leaders and we'll vote for ours. Your problem is with your leaders, not ours.
Washington DC

Please be advised that I have forwarded this to the CIA and FBI.
United States

Mind your own flipping business.
United States

I suggest that if a particular reader of the Guardian would like to vote in America - would really like to influence the American election, say - that reader should move to America, become a citizen of the United States. Everyone is welcome here. Even the readers of the Guardian. But if you don't wish to be an American, to live in Ohio, for instance, and participate in the American political process, that is too bad. Perhaps there is something wrong with you. Perhaps it is your teeth.
New York

As a US citizen, I want to advise you that you and anyone that participates in subverting the US presidential election can be criminally charged and perhaps even charged as spies.
California

And my personal favorite:

My dear, beloved Brits,
I understand the Guardian is sponsoring a service where British citizens write to Americans to advise them on how to vote. Thank heavens! I was adrift in a sea of confusion and you are my beacon of hope!

Feel free to respond to this email with your advice. Please keep in mind that I am something of an anglophile, so this is not confrontational. Please remember, too, that I am merely an American. That means I am not very bright. It means I have no culture or sense of history. It also means that I am barely literate, so please don't use big, fancy words.

Set me straight, folks!
Dayton, Ohio