Over here in England, many people are watching the US election with baited breath (although, to be frank, most probably don't know its happening). It is true that the outcome does effect us as well and so Americans have a considerable responsibility to the rest of the world to make the right decision. However, I'm certainly not about to tell them what the right decision is as this seems to cause more harm than good.
An example of offering a word of friendly advice going horribly wrong is the Guardian's efforts to influence the vote in Clark County, Ohio. Never have I seen such patronising liberal stupidity in my life. Can the Guardian's editors, desperate for a Kerry victory, really have thought that getting Richard Dawkins, a man genetically incapable of empathic with ordinary people, to tell Americans how to vote would have anything but a detrimental effect. The Guardian, however, is unapologetic.
At root, the biggest fault line between Europe and the US is over religion. Read some European newspapers and you would think that most Americans are religious fundies who would rather live under a theocracy than democracy. The Guardian itself publishes endless op-ed pieces about how conservative Christians are about to take over. To be fair, they pick a lot of this up from left wing American writers who are just as convinced that Texas is the new Iran. You could say that people who can't tell the difference between the Southern Baptists and Islamic terrorists are not even worth the time of day, but actually Islamicists often get a better press from many liberals in Europe than do Christians. It is hard to escape the impression that a sizable majority here are quietly cheering on the insurgents in Iraq against the Americans. For people like me who genuinely like Americans, are not afraid of their religious outlook and do not consider matters like abortion to be beyond discussion, European bigotry can get depressing. But there is no sign of it changing and I suspect matters will get worse if the bigots claim the scalp of Rocco Buttiglione whose only crime is to tolerate homosexuals rather than actively approve of them.
On another note, thanks to Elliot for his suggested links. I will come on to consciousness, and especially why I think Nancey Murphy is on a hiding to nothing, later on.