Imagine a scenario involving a scared, defenseless child awaiting his abusive father’s impending return home after a night at the bar. The child is forced to stand by and watch his mother accept and welcome her husband home, knowing all the while that she should instead be kicking him out of the house, calling the police and removing such a monster from their lives. He knows his mother senses the wrong that is being done, because no decent person could miss it. But instead of confronting it, she pushes it aside for empty optimism. She tells herself after each destructive incident that her husband will make good on the multitude of promises made in the past, but it never happens and there is little reason to think that is going to change.
You now have a loose picture of how the modern international community might have felt while intently surveying our election year theatrics and results.
Through the eyes of the international community, particularly the European Union, this was a choice between the candidate who disregarded their support in the wake of Sept. 11, 2001 while reveling in his military through an immoral war, or for the candidate who stood for everything that the other was not.
It is hard for many Americans to understand how a political process apart from our own could have any bearings on their lives due to our unmatched political prowess and subsequent breadth of international ignorance and apathy that has often been exercised.
Therefore, to understand such an outlook, we must walk a mile in the world’s shoes and perceive ourselves from the same third party perspective that they do. When they look at us, they see a nation enveloped so firmly within its principles that they choose ignorance over reason as a matter of pride.
They see most Americans still holding to the notions that Saddam Hussein was an immediate national threat and that Iraq was involved in Sept. 11, 2001, despite such allegations being explicitly refuted by both Congress and our chief weapons inspectors within the past year. No such issues of denial are present within the other coalition parties.
They see the American public still haggling over such basic civil liberties as gay rights and abortion, issues that our more tolerant and enlightened counterparts in the European Union are currently resolving through their drafted constitutions. When we are continually five steps behind the rest of the world when it comes to assuring human rights, how can there be any faith within any other facet of our society?
Yet, despite having to face another four years of the man who disregarded their presence, the international community can focus on a strong positive in the form of the European Union. Having grown considerably in both political influence and strength, it has offered a viable alternative to the often powerless United Nations and a NATO habitually dominated by the U.S. Through impressive humanitarian efforts such as insuring all 455 million members, the barring of capital punishment and housing for the poor, the EU has succeeded in drawing together 25 nations even more diverse than our own union. This indicates that for the first time in 14 years, there is now a growing power removed from the United States sphere of influence, without having to rely on such archaic methods as a military buildup.
While still not on the level of the United States, the EU’s emergence is most welcome among those dedicated to peace and prosperity; a monopoly within any structured system is a threat to continued success and growth. The next four years may indeed be long and terrifying ones for all included parties, but with the EU posing as a legitimate contender to U.S. dominance on the political scene, perhaps there is still hope to hold on to.
Noah Potvin can be reached at Npotvin@gmail.com.