(This is a piece I wrote for prairie dog, an alternative weekly up in Canada.)
People of Saskatchewan, I am so sorry. I’m a proud citizen of the United States, but I’d like to formally apologize to all of you for the electoral spectacle that you’ve been forced to watch for the last two years. As political correspondent for Seattle alternative weekly The Stranger, I’ve followed Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama all around my country. I’ve even shaken Romney’s hand at a rally. (In case you’re curious, he’s got a creepily efficient handshake: exactly two and a half swift pumps accompanied by a simulacrum of eye contact and a hollow smile, as though a scientist spent decades perfecting the most average handshake imaginable.) I’m a political junkie, a presidential history buff and I desperately love my job, but even I’m disgusted by the America I’ve seen.
It’s easy to fall prey to the belief that all Americans are racists who’ll hang Obama in effigy on their lawns, or monstrous shambles of men who claim with alarming sangfroid that rape isn’t really that bad, or gun-worshipping ghouls who believe that God is a little bearded man who perches on their shoulders and whispers homophobic, anti-science rants into their ears. And you probably believe we Americans all vote against our own financial interests — affordable health care, higher taxes on the wealthy, laws to protect us from corporate greed — because we harbor the illusion that we’re just one lottery ticket away from becoming spiteful billionaire slave-drivers ourselves. But that’s not true. Only about half of us are like this...