Northern lights on US election I : Will Sunday audacity of hope in Europe finally reach American midwest?

Jul 31st, 2016 | By | Category: Key Current Issues

A Muslim woman carries a child at Catholic Mass in tribute to assassinated priest Jacques Hamel in the Rouen Cathedral in France on July 31, 2016. AFP pic.

If the bad sides of current events in Europe can reasonably be seen as part of the 2016 US election (and something US presidents can somehow be viewed as responsible for), then so should the good sides.

I was impressed in this light myself by the Raphael Satter and Colleen Barry Associated Press report variously published in North America this Sunday as “Gesture of unity: Muslims attend Catholic Mass across France” and “Muslims go to Catholic Mass across Europe to show solidarity.”

Here, it might be said, is a working example of the audacity of hope President Obama was alluding to yet again in his recent oration to the 2016 DNC in Philadelphia, the Quaker William Penn’s city of brotherly love.

At Rouen Cathedral in France, Sunday, July 31, 2016.

Note, eg, as Raphael Satter and Colleen Barry report, outside the church in Rouen, France where an elderly Catholic priest was recently gruesomely murdered by some near-random jihadist fanatic, “a group of Muslims were applauded when they unfurled a banner: ‘Love for all. Hate for none’.”

Satter and Barry go on : “Churchgoer Jacqueline Prevot said that the attendance of Muslims was ‘a magnificent gesture … Look at this whole Muslim community that attended Mass … I find this very heartwarming … I say to myself that this assassination won’t be lost, that it will maybe relaunch us better than politics can do; maybe we will react in a better way.’”

Despite the “better than politics” here, keeping this kind of hope alive (to use the old Jesse Jackson language, from back when he was warming up the institutions for what Barack Obama finally managed to do in 2008) is yet another elusive treasure at stake in the 2016 US elections, whose great mystery will only be definitively solved on November 8.

General Election 2008 : McCain vs Obama.

Meanwhile, I am once again finding whatever it is that has followed the two major party conventions, on TV and so forth, less than compelling or even attractive.

Things are not as bad in this respect as they were this past March, when I was endorsing the view that “2016 so far is ‘democracy as depicted by Hieronymus Bosch’ (from the Huffington Post’s ‘Top 12 Reasons This Is The Most Depressing Election Ever’).” I am warming a little to Hillary. The recent DNC was almost inspiring.

Yet so far at least I can’t quite see an interesting trail to follow coming out of Philadelphia. And even MSNBC is starting to annoy me … well a little anyway. (It may just be that it’s the dead centre of summer, and I want to just wake up and drink the coffee, taking the boat to buy gas across the lake … well in my mind anyway, from the comfort of my second storey office near the east beach in the city, only a few hundred yards north of the most easterly Great Lake. The interesting action will start after Labour Day.)

State-by-state in 2016 Democratic Primaries : Green = Bernie Sanders ; Gold = Hillary Clinton.

Meanwhile again, I also find myself turning to interesting smaller facts at least vaguely related to the 2016 US election. Like the two interesting maps here.

The first shows that in the 2008 presidential race “Barack Obama held a 4-point lead over John McCain going into the Republican convention on September 2. But by the second day of the convention, McCain’s polling numbers had eclipsed Obama’s. They took a little while to sink back down to where they were before.”

“Members of the congregation in Santa Maria Caravaggio church in Milan, Italy during a multifaith service organized by Italy's Islamic Religious Community (COREIS) on July 31, 2016. Photo by Flavio Lo Scalzo/EPA.”

The second map shows states won by Bernie (green) and Hillary(gold) in the Democratic primaries this year. A Canadian is bound to notice that, except for New York, Pennsylvania, and Ohio, all the northern states that directly abut the Canadian border voted for Bernie. And from this one might guess that if the 2016 US election were being held in Canada, Bernie would be running for the Democrats – and almost certainly win! (Except, some will protest, we already have at least much of what he has been talking about – as Stephen Harper would sometimes complain in his now vanished youth.)

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