Startling contrast between politicians

By Terry Sarten

Barack Obama, celebrating re-election as president, gave a passionate and statesman-like speech to his supporters and the American nation. He spoke of the need for collective effort with an eloquence and elegant combination of vision and confidence. The contrast with the language and unthinking mutterings of John Key is startling. Denigrating an international sportsman by describing David Beckham as "thick as bat****" lacks everything that leadership should provide. Adding the recent onset of Brain Fade and John Key is clearly not up to the task of Prime Minister.

The American election circus is astonishing in its grand scale, the lofty ideals, the depth to which some will sink and the weight of all the money strewn in the path of potential voters. The rednecks lifted their heads above the mob, proclaiming their right to outlaw abortion and shoot outlaws. From here, on our smug little island far from the land of the free, we watched in wonder as Barack and Mitt slugged it out in the media, spending billions of dollars on TV ads.

The daft and dotty (mostly on the far right) were revealed in all their splendour. It was comforting to see that US voters recognise the fundamentally flawed whenever they appear. Both Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock, Republicans pitching for seats in the Senate, were rejected by voters. Their comments about "legitimate rape" and abortion were so offensive that their campaigns were immediately doomed.

Once their remarks gathered media attention, presenting their moral and biological ignorance, their own party put them out on the iceberg of isolation.

Their bizarre statements destroyed Republican hopes of holding the balance of power in the Senate. On another level, the call from Republican for less government in the lives of American citizens, contradicted its own logic by also pitching for a bigger, stronger military - the army is nationally funded and very much an arm of the state.

We do not have a Barack Obama here in NZ but we do have our equivalent of Donald Trump in Winston Peters and Peter Dunne - vacant spaces beneath haircuts that have more to say than they do.

Like Don Quixote, they tilt at issues, that like wind mills, hold no danger except to themselves and their parliamentary perks. We can now add to the list of hopeless buffoons Prime Minister Key for the IQ relative to bat droppings and red T-shirt equals gay remarks. Goodness knows we need all the humour we can get as the economy experiences continuing aftershocks but sneering, snide sarcasm garners no respect. Certainly it is easier to tout the doubt than propose constructive policy.

Diverting attention is no longer limited to politics. It now appears to be an accepted defence lawyer's tactic to suggest that someone else committed the crime - often in circumstance where the person being fingered is unable to refute the shadowy accusation. I am no legal expert but this seems to contradict the concept that it is the person charged who is on trial not, by implication, someone else.

Terry Sarten is a writer, musician and social worker. Email feedback:

- Wanganui Chronicle

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