How would Americans feel, if Europeans actually controlled the swing vote in a tight US Presidential election? In reality, for that scenario to be cued up, this year's election result only has to be nearly as close as the 2000 election. The Europeans are already campaigning, and have a captive audience comprising a significant number of US voters. So, be afraid. Be very afraid.
Across Europe live hundreds of thousands of American citizens, living and working. Their kids go to local schools; they mix in with the local communities, go to church, go to parties, watch television, read the news — and generally muck in just like all the European folk do. Being Americans with that "can do" pioneering spirit and sunny adaptability, they have no problems building lasting friendships with the natives, discussing world politics, and setting the world to rights over a few glasses of beer or wine. It sounds nice, and I dare say, you can even hear the birds' twittering away as the sun comes up over that idyllic scene. Go on; throw some more logs on the fire.
So, here we have American voters in gay Paris or wherever they are based, and no doubt they are highly excited about the upcoming election. Or are they? Maybe some of them are dreading it like nothing they have ever dreaded before. If they are anything like many of the Americans I know over here in Europe, they are one stressed out bunch of individuals. I pray for them every night and then get a good night's sleep. I can, because I'm a Canadian. We are not as unpopular as our North American neighbors — at least not at the moment. In fact, I've never been so pleased to be a Canadian. Don't worry. I'm not going to become too complacent, as you never know with Europeans. They can turn on you in an instant, odorous brie in hand — especially if you happen to say anything positive about President Bush — no matter how inconsequential the comment. Mention Bush in most circles, regardless of your nationality, and there will be the usual moron jokes and references to stupid white men. He who stands up for Bush in Europe is a brave man indeed.
It's easy to think Americans are superhuman, with strong principles and immune from influence or propaganda by the pro—Kerry European press. However; good people, whether American or not, break under extreme circumstances. They want to live their lives in peace and quiet, not to be hated, and not have their kids (mildly) bullied at school. If these Americans abroad are being told day in and day out that Bush is evil and that America will continue to be hated until he is out of the White House, some might just start believing it. While there are probably few Americans that would change their vote — or abstain — just because of this European pro—Kerry pressure, only the few would be needed in order to change the course of a tight election. We may never know whether foreign leaders have blessed Kerry's campaign — as he recently suggested — but the European press, on the whole, most certainly have endorsed him. So could Europeans really have a significant effect on the outcome of 2004? I recently suggested this possibility on a British Conservative blog, and intense hostility resulted. One thing is for certain. This election is unique — simply because never has Europe hated a US president with such intensity. Do the Math.
The author is The American Thinker's London correspondent