We have (almost) a little period of peace following our elections. America’s elections are waiting for it. This coming Tuesday the entire lower chamber of Congress (House of Representatives) and roughly one-third of the upper chamber (Senate) will change. And two of today’s contributions to the newsstands of the world will be dedicated to those elections, since the first offers some general instruction to the political pond in the Czech Republic.
Let’s begin with commentary from today’s edition of the American daily The Washington Post. The contribution by Robert J. Samuelson has an expressive title: “The dysfunction of American politics.” The author points out that controversies are natural for democracy: “If everyone agreed on everything, politics would be unnecessary. ... A dictator could govern by universally accepted preferences and policies.” The problem, however, according to him, is that contemporary American politics does not serve to overcome differences but to increase them. And Samuelson presents several reasons.
The second may be surprising — that is, that moralizing dominates in politics, from the left as well as from the right. He mentions, for example, the campaign to save the planet (that is, the radical left) or for the protection of unborn children (that is, abortion opponents). And he adds: “When goals become moral imperatives, there's no room for compromise.”
And briefly we will stop our discussion of American politics in light of the upcoming elections with a contribution from the online version of the British daily The Daily Telegraph. The author, like hundreds of others, considers the failure of the, until recently, almost miraculous president Barack Obama (by the way, this letter even made its way into the Saturday supplement to Orientace). It is worth noting the last paragraph, according to which Obama’s attitude to Americans in many ways reminds one of expressions of anti-Americanism in Europe: “Joining the Europeans in mocking ordinary Americans for their supposed idiocy may play well at big-dollar fund-raisers. In adopting this as a political strategy, however, the Democrats could be the ones who end up looking stupid.”