Monday, 29 October 2012

To look for America

Last night on Channel 4, Matt Frei travelled across the American Midwest ahead of next week's presidential election.

Frei was born and grew up in Germany (he did a very good BBC series on Berlin a couple of years back), was educated in England when his father worked here as a journalist and is now a foreign correspondent in Washington. He seems to have picked up the American habit of referring to pretty much the whole population as "middle class", including anyone who's not a millionaire or homeless. In England, someone like the guy he met in Minneapolis who has two jobs, one in a warehouse and one at night in a off licence, would never be called middle-class. I'm not sure how this started, whether it's working-class people aspiring to be middle-class or politicians thinking it best not to talk about a working class excluded from the American Dream.

Frei's trip from Minnesota to Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky didn't reveal much new - guns, racism, poverty -  but the Republican pollster who told him that no president has been re-elected with unemployment over 7% makes me think Romney becoming president might not be as unlikely a prospect as it appeared a couple of months back.


  1. Middle class. In a classless society. The middle class here is a complete misnomer; basically anyone with a job and not on food stamps is middle class! The poor do not exist in the sense that they matter in the grand scheme of things here; working class has a ring of socialism; the working class rose up against it's masters, that is too un-American. The election cycle here is constant; the two main parties are already looking at the potential presidential candidates for 2016; fundraising is non-stop with the corporate donations via lobby groups.
    This country is not a democracy anymore. A Plutocracy, maybe; Oligarchy, maybe; or is it Corporatism, a version of fascism with out the military. It is in great danger of being an ultra-evangelical-christian state. Think of Sharia law but with the bible replacing the Quran.
    The Tea Party (ultra-right wing), wants to 'take back' this country; what the sheeple, those who support it because of fear through ignorance, do not realize is that taking it back means going back in time, metaphorically,to the time when 'rights' were few and being middle class was for the few.

  2. It's disturbing to think that the world's most powerful democracy is slowly turning into a Christian version of Iran, with democratic forms but no democratic substance.