When the Guardian Newspaper in the UK lamented that citizens around the world couldn’t vote in the US election, Oz blogger Tim Blair suggested that they write letters to voters in swing states.
Without giving Tim Blair credit for the idea, the Guardian has been encouraging just such a letter-writing campaign, distributing the addresses of voters in Clark County, Ohio, a swing county in a swing state. Blair then started an email-writing campaign, writing to Guardian editors. Various aspects of this have been mentioned by Reynolds, and Reynalds, and Schrag, the Scotsman, the AP, and a slew of Ohio papers that require registration.
Today, Mark Steyn discusses one of the more condescending letters from intellectual Brits, a letter from Richard Dawkins, a “professor of the public understanding of science” at Oxford University. Here is an excerpt from Dawkins’s letter:
Don’t be so ashamed of your president: the majority of you didn’t vote for him. If Bush is finally elected properly, that will be the time for Americans travelling abroad to simulate a Canadian accent. Please don’t let it come to that. Vote against Bin Laden’s dream candidate. Vote to send Bush packing.
Before 9/11 gave him his big break – the neo-cons’ Pearl Harbor – Bush was written off as an amiable idiot, certain to serve only one term. An idiot he may be, but he is also sly, mendacious and vindictive; and the thuggish ideologues who surround him are dangerous. 9/11 gave America a free gift of goodwill, and it poured in from all around the world. Bush took it as a free gift to the warmongers of his party, a licence to attack an irrelevant country which, however nasty its dictator, had no connection with 9/11. The consequence is that all the worldwide goodwill has vanished. Bush’s America is on the way to becoming a pariah state. And Bush’s Iraq has become a beacon for terrorists. . . .
Now that all other justifications for the war are known to be lies, the warmongers are thrown back on one, endlessly repeated: the world is a better place without Saddam. No doubt it is. But that’s the Tony Martin school of foreign policy [Added by Guardian: Martin was a householder who shot dead a burglar who had broken into his house in 1999]. It’s not how civilised countries, who follow the rule of law, behave. The world would be a better place without George Bush, but that doesn’t justify an assassination attempt. The proper way to get rid of that smirking gunslinger is to vote him out. . . .
Steyn ends his editorial on the Guardian’s campaign by noting:
Linda Rosicka, director of the county’s Board of Elections, thinks the rampaging Brits will have little effect. “The American Revolution was fought for a reason,” she remarked drily. That’s the spirit.
Rosicka’s comment reminds me of something that Dan Polsby (now on George Mason’s faculty) said on my first day at work at the Northwestern Law School in 1996. Princess Diana was in the building that day and almost everyone was excited to try to catch a glimpse of her. I would have shaken her hand if introduced, but I saw no reason to figure out where she was to get to see or meet her. Polsby was asked by an administrator if he had seen Diana and he replied, “Didn’t we fight a war to be rid of these people?” Indeed!
I find it hard to believe that condescending letters from professors of the public understanding of science at Oxford University will carry much weight with Ohio voters, nor will posts from professor-bloggers. The frustration of foreign elites is perhaps understandable. Yet there are a lot better reasons than a letter from the UK to vote for or against George Bush.