As voters stepped into the polls, they came armed with their opinions, their emotions, their gut feelings, their peer pressure, their community organizers’ suggestions and a variety of other decision-making tools that will never supplant bare-bones knowledge on the issues.
Last time around, it was Diddy warning citizens to “Vote or Die,” but last year a study by the Pew Research Center for The People & The Press nearly gave the world of punditry a collective heart attack. Looking at the survey somberly reminds us that these are the people who voted, volunteered, were perhaps cajoled into registering by an ambitious, compensated town crier with a clipboard.
Only 36 percent of Pew respondents could name Vladimir Putin as the president of Russia — even when he’d been president for nearly eight years. Only two-thirds could name their own state’s governor. Sixty-nine percent could even identify our vice president, even with Dick Cheney’s starring role as the butt of liberal jokes. Just 37 could peg the chief justice of the Supreme Court as leaning conservative, and even fewer respondents, 32 percent, could name Sunni as the Islam branch opposite Shia. And on, and on.
Too many American voters sleepwalk through the world, and yet lined up to pick the next leader of the free world. And now, Barack Obama, you have the weight of the world on your shoulders — a world where many of its inhabitants would like to see a weaker United States so that they can feel stronger themselves, and have won agreement from many on the American left. You have constituents and global onlookers alike who think that the reputation of the U.S. is paramount to doing the right — even if unpopular — thing.
Here are five things you should remember about the world today — and that you should cling to stronger than upper-class citizens’ money:
· The fact that chief Hamas adviser Ahmed Yousef said in April, “We like Mr. Obama and we hope he will win the election” because “he has a vision to change America” is not a hat tip to your alleged great uniting or peacemaking abilities. It’s an ominous sign that, after evaluating the candidates, this terror organization came to the conclusion that you can most easily be manipulated. No less than the survival of the Jewish state hangs in the balance — and toasting PLO lackeys will only reinforce the suspicion that you were just pandering to Jewish voters on Israel. Actions will speak louder than campaign-trail rhetoric.
· Russia will most likely attack Georgia again, especially since they saw how your mind works in this response to the South Ossetia war: “I think it is important at this point for all sides to show restraint and to stop this armed conflict.” If you can’t pick sides when appropriate, you’re going to let Russia become a steamroller over the former Soviet states. If you think that Russia smashing Georgia after Georgia tried to rein in a breakaway territory is a situation in which Georgia needs to “show restraint,” then you don’t belong in the White House — you belong at the United Nations.
· As Obamaniacs flooded the polls Tuesday, Iran celebrated its National Day Against Global Arrogance. That translates to a national holiday denouncing the United States in P.C.-friendly terms, as the mullahs’ minions dutifully protested the Great Satan. The Islamic Republic News Agency reported: “People from all walks of life converged at the site of the former US embassy in Tehran, better known in Iranian history as the ‘Den of Spies.’ Ralliers, including groups of school and university students, shouted slogans against the United States as they marched through Tehran’s streets. By chanting slogans such as ‘nuclear energy, is the legitimate right of the Iranian nation,’ the ralliers underscored the need for producing nuclear energy to generate electricity.” If you think that the U.S. can fairly enter negotiations with this entity, especially as you’ve agreed Iran cannot be allowed to develop a nuclear weapon, you’ll be about as useful as Jimmy Carter during the Iran hostage crisis.
· Neither you nor John McCain focused on much of anything south of the border during the campaign, but there are volatile situations that could blow up in your face very quickly. In Mexico, you have a violent drug war buoyed by drug smuggling across our border and a methamphetamine market that has been cornered by Mexican cartels since we enacted pseudoephedrine restrictions. In South America, you have a Venezuelan leader trying to rally others against “The Empire” (us) while cutting economic and military deals with Iran and Russia. Just as bad economic times helped the populist (you) win here in America, trying times will leave lovers of democracy — who are already persecuted in Hugo Chavez’s Bolivarian Revolution — in even more dire straits. Will you take sides and stand up for them and, in turn, everything for which America stands?
· Whether Osama Bin Laden is captured or not is, unfortunately, just a political talking point — one you used well during the debates, I might add. Because whether or not you plan to bust down Pakistan’s door, with guaranteed disastrous results, or chase Osama to the “gates of hell” as your challenger promised, you still have a vast terror network flourishing under the guidance of Ayman al-Zawahiri. You have a radical, extremist Islamist ideology to counter — and many on the left would rather complain about documentaries on the subject than face the threat head-on.
This isn’t to say that the McCain-Palin team would have met all of these challenges, or that they would have even been able to get anything done with a Democratic Congress. But Washington, D.C., is now in dangerous territory with the loss of checks and balances.
And President-elect Obama, so much hangs in the balance with your willingness — or refusal — to accept and act upon global realities.