Forget terrorism – US presidency scares me!

So, the US presidential election is just around the corner. Millions of Americans have already cast their votes while scores of millions are still waiting for the final pitches from candidates before they do their bit for democracy.

But what about the rest of the world? We don’t even get a say – but we have to live with the consequences just like the good ole folk in the fifty states. And it’s a scary choice we face.

Barack Obama was a miracle man four years ago when he became the first black president but the shine has since been dulled to a matt finish by the chill winds of domestic politics and global events, especially the financial crisis.

There is still much to like about Obama as a person but his inability to produce anything other than a dead cat bounce from the US economy is worrying to the point of sleepless nights. All the world is affected by American productivity and its capacity to generate – or stifle – a global stimulus. It remains a truism that if America sneezes, many nations catch cold and there’s not a damned thing any of us can do about it.

It’s serious food for thought when China with the dead hand of communism-socialism acting like an anchor can constantly achieve substantially greater rates of growth than the world powerhouse of capitalism. What’s the free market explanation for that?

It is even more concerning how Obama resorted to the time-honoured tradition of simply printing more money when things got rough after the GFC. Stimulus is fine in theory but just ‘manufacturing’ a trillion new dollars without anything whatsoever to underpin it is scary. We know damned well that kind of play simply does not work with family budgets so how come we are expected to believe it is viable for the world’s largest economy?

And if Obama scares many people by his lack of economic prowess, how are we supposed to feel about Mitt Romney and his unorthodox religious beliefs? Say a prayer, baby!

Most people are usually not interested in or bothered by other people’s religious beliefs but we have no choice when aspiring political leaders seek a mandate, not just for their espoused political policies, but their personal beliefs as well. Romney might turn out to be a magician with the US economy (though such a belief remains an act of faith in itself) yet his social conservatism does not sit well with many who see progressive change as a beneficial and natural part of life.

As for managing foreign policy and global issues, well, we’ve witnessed quite a few slip-ups from Romney sufficient to raise doubts about his capacity to deliver consistently and well. Obama has managed the task quite well though how much credit deserves to go to Hilary Clinton is a moot point.

It’s all such a gamble. Guess we who watch from the sidelines elsewhere in the world can appreciate how Chinese people feel when their leadership determines the outcome and presents fait accompli to the supposedly enfranchised citizenry. But, like the rest of us watching the US election, they simply shrug their shoulders and get on with it.

Perhaps the lesson is that when available choices inspire little confidence maybe it’s best to have others determine the outcome. At least then you can’t be held personally accountable one way or the other. A dreadful avoidance of responsibility, it has to be acknowledged, but . . .