By Sawraj Singh
I have been saying this for sometime that the extreme right is going to hijack America under the garb of Populism. The Populist leaders such as Sarah Palin and Glen Beck want to take America to the extreme right. The Tea Party movement is the populist movement which is the main vehicle for the extreme rightists.
In the Republican primaries, the extreme right has shown its teeth to the mainstream republicans. The Republicans were so happy to take the Senate and Congress back from the Democrats. They were equally thrilled at the chances of getting more Governors elected than the Democrats. However, the Tea Party and the extreme right has shown to the Republicans that they hate the mainstream and moderate Republicans as much as they hate the Democrats. Actually, the mainstream and moderate Republicans have more in common with the Democrats than the extreme right wing of their own party.
In the long run, the Republican party has more to lose by winning the November mid-term elections. Not only are they alienating the minorities, particularly the Hispanics, but in the long run, they will not be able to hold on to the majority of the whites. The vast majority of the white people will also find out that the Populist slogans sound pleasing and make you get excited, but in the long run, they rarely work.
No where is the victory of the extreme right more shocking than the Delaware primary. Delaware can be considered the heartland of the mainstream and the moderate republicans. Christine O’Donnell beat congressman Mike Castle. Mike Castle is probably the most typical representative of the mainstream and moderate republicans. Nobody could have imagined that a relatively unknown extreme right republican can beat him in Delaware. This outcome only proves that the victory of the extreme right may harm the mainstream and moderate Republicans more than the Democrats.
The populist slogans of the extreme right are appealing now to the majority of the white people. However, they will realize that these slogans are going to do extensive damage to America both at home and abroad. At home, we will have a more divided America than ever before, and abroad, we will have a more isolated America than ever before. The extreme right can only divide and isolate America in the long run.
The global situation demands an America which is completely opposite to the America visualized by the extreme right. A united America which is willing to participate as an equal in the new global community of a multipolar world is needed.
We can only hope that people can realize the dangers of an extreme right take over before irreparable damage is done. The policies of the extreme right cannot work for a multicultural and multiracial society. The multicultural reality of America cannot be denied, particularly when the most populated state of the nation, California, has now more than 50% population which is non-white.
The current economic crisis took a heavy toll on America, both domestically as well as globally. The just released poverty figures show an increase of poverty for all weaker sections of the society. The Chicago Council on Global Affairs survey shows the growing pessimism of Americans about America’s influence in the World
In 2009, the percentage of the American population living in poverty rose to 14.3% from 13.2% in 2008. There were 43.6 million poor people in America in 2009 as compared to 39.8 million in 2008. However, for the weaker sections of the society, the percentage of the poor is much higher. For the young people below the age of 18, the figure rose from 19.0% in 2008 to 20.7% in 2009. Whereas, one in seven persons in America became poor, but one in five young people lives in poverty. For the Hispanics, the figure rose from 23.2% in 2008 to 25.3% in 2009 and for the blacks from 24.7% to 25.3%. This means that one in four Hispanics and one in four blacks now live in poverty. An annual income of 21,945 dollars for a family of four is considered the poverty line.
The number of people who cannot afford medical insurance also rose. In 2008, 15.4% of the population could not afford medical insurance. In 2009, 16.7% population could not afford medical insurance. The total number of people who cannot afford health insurance has exceeded 50 million (50.7 million).
Americans have become more pessimistic about America’s influence in the World. in 2002, 17% of the population felt that Americas influence in the World was declining. In 2010, 37% of the population feels that Americas influence in the World is declining. When asked, whether America has same level of importance as a World leader as it had 10 years ago, 57% said yes in 2002 but only 22% said yes in 2010. When asked, will America remain at top in 2060, only one in three Americans (33%) said yes.
The other interesting points made in the survey of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs were:
- Nine out of 10 Americans think that America should concentrate more on problems at home than abroad.
- 51% feel that America’s ability to achieve its goals has decreased.
- A majority of Americans feel that if Israel and Iran go to war then America should not intervene.
- Support for the military bases abroad has declined.
- 45% feel that Muslim religious, social and political traditions are incompatible with the Western way of life, and violent conflict is inevitable. This is up 18% from 2002.
- 75% feel that the terrorists ability to launch an attack has increased since the September 11, 2001.
- 59% feel that the next generation of Americans will be worse off than now.
- 62% feel that the distribution of wealth is unfair in America.
I predicted many years ago that the twenty first century will be fundamentally different than the nineteenth and the twentieth centuries, because the Western domination and the American Era will end. Asia will become the leading region of the World and China will become the most powerful country in the World. About two decades later, I feel that many Americans are beginning to agree with me.
The Kashmir Telegraph is the publication of Pune-based, not for profit, think-tank, Kashmir Bachao Andolan. Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org