I’ve spent much of this past week basking in schadenfreude in the most unseemly fashion. Despite the best efforts of America’s super-rich, Obama was re-elected. For the first time ever, I wanted to watch Fox News, to see for myself as they were hoist on their own petard. I settled for watching Donald Trump’s live twitter meltdown, where he could not contain his disbelief that all his money could not buy him the result he wanted. He was like the cranky old man at the end of a Scooby Doo mystery, ranting at those pesky kids.
I’m not a massive Obama fan. He not only failed to shut down Guantanamo, he signed the NDAA Act which makes it legal for any US citizen to be held without charge indefinitely. He’s made it tougher for whistleblowers. He’s authorising the killing of children in Pakistan in drone attacks. The fact he was given the Nobel Peace Prize makes a mockery of the award.
But Romney would have been much, much worse. And, perhaps worse still, it would have been a victory for the tactics used by the GOP. The hate, the lies, the hateful lies. The attacks on women and minorities. The gerrymandering and voter suppression. The courting of the loony religious fringe. The abject failure to engage with the real problems facing America in favour of an all-out effort to discredit ‘the other guy’.
So: a victory for sanity. One that gives me hope for democracy.
Now we need another. In a few weeks Lord Leveson will make his recommendations to government. This offers a rare, perhaps singular, opportunity to regain a news media dedicated to truth, one that serves democracy instead of twisting it to the ends of the media owners. I hope you’ll agree We need laws to guarantee a free press.