Here’s an interesting thought: America might find the much needed remedy for its painfully evident and dangerously prevalent political apathy in… Hillary Clinton. In her Reuters article, Chloe Angyal cites a study that shows how women’s involvement in the electoral process impacts the level of political awareness on part of the voting public (especially women). A Clinton presidential bid would, therefore, help raise political awareness and perhaps reverse the US trend of caring less and less about politics and politicians. According to Angyal, the more prominent a female candidate is, the more people are expected to care. Seems fair enough, but it is my intuition that – when entertaining Clinton ’16 – Angyal is overlooking something.
As one friend recently told me, I often tend to succumb to the all-too-familiar temptation of employing elaborate narratives to conceal spite. For whatever merits the phenomenon of a contemporary hater might hold, one should be open about it. I’ve heard about the Ice Bucket Challenge. I’ve seen my social media news feeds swamped with photos of my people pouring icy water on themselves. I’m aware that it’s for charity and – shocker – I’ve heard Oprah Winfrey has done it. And, yet, its whiff of insincerity sickens me.
The present decade of a “post-American world” (how some scholars call a system of international relations marked by the relative decline of US global influence) has been seeing its share of highly publicized conflicts – Iraq, Afghanistan, Georgia, Egypt, Libya, Thailand, Syria and Ukraine, along the continuous Israeli-Palestinian struggle. The aforementioned one’s have had a limited, thought dominant presence in the public eye, unlike more permanent situations in the “failed” North African states. In relation to them, one of the terms whose resurgence I’ve noticed in Western media’s op-eds and analysis is “useful idiots“. This term is used to refer to western public intellectuals and human rights advocates, critical of their own societies’ cultural intolerance, human rights standards and foreign policies.
I’ve come across an interesting article by Fareed Zakaria, a reiteration of an argument he has made some years ago in his “Global Public Square”. Zakaria, whose personal political beliefs are notoriously difficult to pin down, is a master of argumentation. By all standards, he is a first-class thinker, but the unflattering company of his fellow talk-show hosts boosts his credibility. It is not difficult to see how a scholar of international political economy, who heavily relies on empirical evidence and backs his claims in a responsible and dispassionate way, shines when placed against Bill O’Riley, John Hannity, Rachel Maddow and Chris Matthews.
This is an article I published in the January/February 2014 issue of The Humanist, a magazine run by the American Humanist Association. I’m not terribly up to date with this organization’s most recently taken stances on issues of secularism in the USA, but I suspect the views I’ve put forward do not completely align with their thinking. Anyhow, I appreciate their readiness to publish a critical viewpoint. Check it out: