UK MEP Daniel was in the deep south and was asked why the GOP, having dominated late twentieth century politics, was faring so badly.
The party’s most serious mistake had been its retreat from localism. The Republicans started winning in the 1960s when they embraced states’ rights and the devolution of power. They started losing forty years later when they abandoned these principles. The audience growled its approval and so, perhaps incautiously, I began to list the areas where Bush administration had foolishly extended central power, ranging from the rise in federal spending to the attempt to strike down state laws legalising same-sex unions. When I mentioned same-sex unions, a growl passed through the room, and I winced inwardly: this, I thought, was perhaps not the wisest example to have offered a Republican committee in the Deep South.
Sure enough, after I had finished, a man with a beard and a red baseball cap sauntered up to me.
“Son,” he said, “Ah ’preciate you comin’, an’ Ah ’greed with most of wut you said. But Ah must disagree with your position on so-called homosexual marriage.”
He paused to hitch his jeans up his great belly, looking into the middle distance.
“Far as Ah kin see, not bein’ under any pressure to git married is one of the main advantages Ah enjoy as a gay man.”
Truly, I thought, America is an extraordinary country. Every time you think you’ve got it sussed, it surprises you. It is the sheer diversity of the US that makes anti-Americanism so perverse.