miércoles, noviembre 05, 2008

Thoughts from Afar

It's been incredible to be outside of the US and to see the amazingly positive international reaction to President-elect Obama. Everyone here has been following the campaign from the primaries. When I say it's been fully covered on the news, I mean FULLY. Spanish networks, newspapers, documentaries, the Internet and of course CNN. I don't think many Americans realize just how horrible a global image our country has had the past 8 years. Trust me, I've been an expat for 7 of those years and I can assure you that the image is pretty darn bad. Obama hasn't even been sworn in yet, but the world already has renewed hope for change. Everyday I have people congratulate me on the election and I've been truly glowing and proud.

Facebook is a whole other story, sadly. Being the Facebook user that I am, everyday I see friends' status'. I never realized I had so many republican friends! I can honestly say I've been really disappointed by some of the hateful and intransigent comments that the McCain/Paliners have been putting on their status' in reaction to President-elect Obama. He hasn't even had the chance to lead, much less screw up, and people are already making harsh accusations that the country is going to hell and that their children's futures are in peril! He's being attacked with terms like 'socialism', 'muslim', 'terrorist', etc.

I won't get into the far-fetched muslim terrorist accusations, because it's not even worthy of discussion. However, I do think it's interesting how they've tried to associate our new President with socialism. We've gotten a few chuckles out of that one over here. Now, true socialism is one thing, but meeting basic human needs, such as healthcare, is another. As most of you know, I've lived in Spain for the past 7 years, which is a European Social Democracy (think Tony Blair). I have first hand experience in the positive as well as negative aspects (which I might discuss in future posts). Americans tend to cringe when they hear the word "Socialism", and automatically images of Fidel, Russia, and Cold war come to mind. They confuse the term with communist dictatorship or marxism. Automatically fear sets in. It's an effective strategy. False, but effective. Using fear associates the term with images of Russia, instead of, let's say...Sweden. Who the heck's afraid of Sweden? Now I'm not promoting social democracies either, there are many very positive aspects, but also many problems. Yet I think we've all seen that pure capitalism isn't the answer either. The wealth ain't tricklin', people!

We as Americans need to understand that our country is not comprised solely of white, middle-upper class families in the suburbs. The crude reality is that 50,000,000 people in the US are without healthcare. 50,000,000. That's the entire population of Spain. That right there to me is more unpatriotic than the fact that you forgot to put on your American flag lapel pin for a rally.

To sum up, I'm really excited about our country's future. I know these next four years are going to be rough for Obama, because he's inherited a country that's in shreds. But I believe in what he stands for and I'm very optimistic. So, to all the 'mavericks' and Joe the Plumbers out there showing off their pitbull growls and wishin' they could have done mavericky things, I urge you to take a deep breath and give our new President-elect a chance.


Anonymous Anónimo said...

cool post. come back, quick...we need more of you round these parts. :) ekw

3:43 a. m.  
Anonymous Jeff Finch said...

Amen! Very well put, and quite the high road as well. It'll be nice to see you and Jose state-side when I'm home for Xmas some season :).
Buen viaje!

10:19 p. m.  
Blogger Courtney said...

#1. This may be my first time commenting on your blog. I'm glad I know how blogs work b/c otherwise it would be confusing since its in Spanish. And it makes me see that maybe people are thrown off by mine, in French.
#2. Preach it, sister! I'm proud to share a name with you. ;)

3:26 a. m.  

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