So Bush won it. I can't loose as much sleep over that as many Europeans. What I found most interesting, though, was the way that moral issues such as gay marriage, abortion and family values were so important to so many American voters. Now, the big question for the next four years is probably whether Bush will be able to rejig the Supreme Court. The result of that would either be to shift the US decisively to the right, or set the individual states free to decide their own policies. Which of these two results is the correct description is a matter of which side of the culture wars you are on. It is likely that the votes to outlaw gay marriage will be the first battleground.
Jack took me to task for not following up the Buttiglione case. This was due to my promise to drop politics (in abeyance for this post!). I think the way the left was able to claim Buttiglione's scalp was disgusting and will further undermine the European project. The attempt to force metropolitan values onto the south and east of Europe will probably fail and lead to yet another fault line in the EU. I can say this despite having studied Professor Buttiglione's comments and finding I disagree strongly with them. He might have been lazy (or misquoted) but I fear he actually misunderstands Catholic teaching (but so does everyone else, so no surprise). Buttiglione said that homosexuality is a sin. This is not actually true. Homosexual acts are sinful but the homosexual disposition itself is not. The fact is that all sexual acts outside of marriage are considered a sin by the Church which calls for celibacy for all unmarried people, including homosexuals. Given the Church asks most of its employees to be celibate, it isn't unreasonable that they ask the same of homosexuals (who are certainly not stopped from being priests as long as they are as celibate as all the rest are supposed to be). Neither do Professor Buttiglione's views on the family chime with the latest Vatican document. While it is true that the best place to bring up children is within a family of two married parents, it does not follow that a woman's place is automatically in the kitchen, protected by her husband.
We are left with a marked contrast between Europe and US. In Europe, the elites lead opinion and try to mould popular sentiment. In the US, politicians follow the people who vote for the party that reflects their values. Is this democracy or mob rule? The answer depends on who is asked the question.