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Gary Younge
A few observations from the road


Dan Chung (left) and Gary YoungeSo having been on the road a few days I have a few observations.

First, whenever anyone points a camera at me and asks me to explain something I move my hands around a lot, as though I am scattering seed, moving imaginary objects from one place to another or trying to fly. Thank you for those who have pointed this out although I am sufficiently self-conscious to have noticed already. Since this is not conscious I cannot promise I won't keep doing it but I will promise to try. If only because it looks daft.

Second, that while my esteemed colleague on this trip, Dan Chung, is a refined gent in all sorts of ways his palate can be ... let's say basic. Dan is the only person I know with tickets to La Boheme who can walk into a Kum And Go gas station off I-80, and say: "Those donuts look great".

Dan is the only person I know over the age of eight who still drinks chocolate milk and salivates at the sweetie aisle. Since he is also quite slim, while he is working up an appetite I am working up some serious resentment.

Third, that even though most attack ads are tiring tripe a few are keepers.

This spoof of the racist broadside against Harold Ford is funny.

This attempt by Rick Santorum to claim that there will be mushroom clouds and North Korean militia marching down Pennsylvania avenue if he doesn't win, is also pretty hilarious, but only because he is clearly not going to win.

And finally that Americans, who are such demanding consumers in every other aspect of their life, curiously expect precious little from their leaders. People who would think nothing of sending back a burger if it comes with Swiss rather than Cheddar cheese, seem more than happy to hang on to an entire political class which has completely failed so many of them.

I have yet to meet anyone - though I know they exist - who honestly thinks that much is going to change if the Democrats win the House.

The general sense I get is that those who want the Republicans out feel things will deteriorate less slowly. Given the scale and pace that things have deteriorated over the past six years maybe to expect more is too ambitious. But then this country was built on ambition - well that, genocide and slavery. And I'm not talking socialism - people seem to have given up even expecting that politicians could, or even should, get them health care.

Watching the polls go up and down, can be so hypnotic that most pundits are asleep by the time it comes to assessing what a victory or defeat would actually mean.

PS. Does anybody know a good black barber in Denver - our next stop. Please advise because I need a hair cut even more desperately than I need to keep my hands to myself.

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