AmericaSo Obama no longer has a 60 seat majority in the sentate, and may find it difficult to pass his health care reform. One thing it is easy to forget about Obama, and I have been guilty of it, is that he is not overwhelmingly powerful. The US constitution is a rather crafty thing, and is designed to make change slow for the most part- one needs a majority in the senate and the house of representatives. Its actually been a while since I studied it so I don't remember exactly how it works off the top of my head, but one thing the US does that we no need is to seperate legislature, the executive and the judiciary. For a while over here we had all under one roof. We've actually created a supreme court, which is probably a good idea, but the formally and carefully created US political system is pretty smart.
It is, sadly, not perfect. If there is a powerful enough president, and the right circumstances, laws can be passed quickly- look at the Patriot act, and all the other ridiculous changes Bush made, which will take longer to undo. Of course in the UK we have even less checks and balances, and far more power concentrated in the prime minister.
America can be frustrating from the outside. It honestly baffles me that many people in the country are currently fighting very hard to prevent universal health care, but sadly a democracy should probably work that way. There have been outright lies and ludicrous nonsense spread around the US, but if you cannot convince a good majority of your fairly radical changes then maybe those changes should not be happening, even if they are for their own good. There are probably some advantages to having one of the least efficient health care systems in the world, I'm sure. Hell, rich people do well by it.
If you think about quite how much land mass north America takes up, it almost shouldn't work. Like Russia and China, you are talking about so much land, where people will have stunningly different lifestyles. How much does someone who spends their life on a farm in texas really have in common with a polyamorous transexual from new york . This is probably the case for every country, but in the UK we are all pushed a little closer together. Its much harder to have never left your home town- practically impossible really, and most people who live in villages commute to a city these days. Yet somehow the country remains united, even when one side seems to hate the other (sometimes for the most pathetic of differences). Being the most powerful nation in the world probably helps- it tends to unite people.
The last century saw the British Empire finally lose its sheen as the most powerful, and, with the two world wars, the whole of Europe lose itself to the newly ascendant US, probably due to us spending a whole lot more on the war than the US did, and then being heavily in debt to them as we rebuilt ourselves. One wonders what this new century will bring. Its easy to think that things will stay the same, and certainly most visions of the future seem to have imagined the socio-political structure being the same. But China is only going to get more developed, and currently holds most industry. Lets just hope any upheaval in power doesn't come with wars of the scale that the last century saw. That seems a political impossibility to us right now, but with enough factors I imagine it might well alter.
[apologies for the ramblingness of this post, it was not planned....]