As a foreigner I make absolutely no effort whatsoever to keep my opinions to myself on US politics. And so I'm taking this opportunity once again to stick my nose where it's not wanted and make a few statements about what's happening in the world's most natural disaster-prone country these days.
You see, I'm convinced that Barack Obama should be the next president. It's not really because I'm a sucker for a pretty speech, although as a card-carrying member of the champagne socialist literati I do love anyone in possession of a way with words. It's not even because he's black, and therefore his token should have its time blah blah blah.
No. It's not about that at all.
As a thoroughly fickle man, for me it boils down entirely to appearance. I think the American people feel the same way. Who was the last genuinely ugly president? Carter, maybe, although he did have the benefit of being more attractive than Nixon. But that was the 70s, when body hair was rampant and people thought polyester clothes made them smell good. The LSD most of the world took in that decade was responsible for worse than ugly presidents, in my view, but we digress.
McCain (coincidentally the name of a ready-to-microwave meal manufacturer) and Clinton just don't compare.
McCain is everyone's grandfather, complete with stories about the war and a tendency to ramble about things that don't seem very interesting really - God only knows what, I know I fade in and out whenever he starts talking. If you know give me a buzz down below, but I can't promise I'll play along with the old man and pretend I was really all that interested.
Clinton has a famous name, but she looks tired and she's a little too aggressive. While I've never been one for set gender roles, I've never much liked the mean-spirited back-stabbing bitch as an archetype, and Clinton seems to be embodying it in her dress and facial expressions more and more each day. Function defining form, I suppose. Every time I see her presumably once beautiful face screwed up in another oh-my-I'm-a-lady-but-I-must-tell-you-I-don't-like-those-foreigners moment I get an irrepressible mental image of a gargoyle perched on a cathedral. The building might be beautiful, but all I can see is that twisted face and tortured stone.
Now Saint Obama, on the other hand, is a ordinary looking man. Not handsome except in a distinguished sort of way, and certainly not pretty, but he looks like the kind of man who could quite easily deliver a speech about a ludicrously unlikely terrorist attack on television and still come off presidential. There's an aura of Sinner Clinton about him, and his gluttony for change, although rightly decried by the populace, means he can always wear a very sharp suit. Even an ordinary man looks good in a sharp suit, but Obama looks presidential. And that's what the world wants. George Bush was a caricature, a sign of the US's disbelief in the importance of appearances. We didn't begrudge his policies, not really, but his presence was irksome and his rhetoric tiresome.
So long as you can exploit us charmingly we'll be the best of friends. But please, vote in someone good looking this time. Because it's always harder to justify getting screwed over by ugly people than by the spectacularly beautiful or even the winsomely attractive.
Vote 1 Obama in November.