Friday, February 22, 2008

A Political Post That Might Annoy You

Most of you may know me as the non-politically engaged person that I am. I certainly do not consider myself to be a fervent member of any political organization or party and generally agree with many postmodern social and political theorists that claim that in the U.S. as in many modern democracies, there exists a false dichotomy between the two opposing parties (or to me it seems more like a Morton´s fork). For the most part, real political dialogue that allows multiple perspectives does not exist as it should in a healthy democracy.

That said, I will say outright that right-wing logic defies logic and being the logical person that I am, I normally lean left. Anyone who disagrees with this, is asked kindly to refer to one of the greatest pirates of our time who once said, "This page is about me and why everything I like is great. If you disagree with anything you find on this page, you are wrong."

Expats are often in the peculiar position once we leave our terra patria of defending our country´s behavior, customs, etc, often heatedly when in fact we would never do so back home. This is especially true, I presume, for Americans due to the fact that everyone outside of America seems to think they know what America is all about, after all, they saw it on T.V. We are more American than ever when we are outside American territory and explanations are often required of what America is REALLY like and who Americans REALLY are. This task has been particularly daunting over the last 8 years. Apparently, American people actually elected our current President, much to my surprise.

In tracking the democratic primaries this time around, I am suddenly filled with pride and feel like shouting out, "See????!!!!! I knew it. America is not as bad as the world sees us". For the first time EVER for me, I am actually excited about a candidate and not just because of the historical implications or the symbolic message it is sending the world over. I am excited about the prospects of, as an expat, defending something worthy of my defense. Call me crazy, and gullible to his actually amazing public speaking skills when you compare him to John Kerry (I won´t even mention Bush), but I truly believe that Barak Obama will make us expats proud.


For me, it comes down to one thing: DEMOCRATIC REFORM ("Democratic" as in Democracy, not the Democratic party). Here are the things that he is proposing related to reform (taken from his website) that pushes any other political agenda to the wayside. He proposes to:

- Create a centralized internet database of lobbying reports, ethics records, and campaign finance for everyone to see
- Create an independent watchdog agency to investicate ethics violations
- Publically finance campaigns to reduce influence special interest groups who right now basically buy their candidate.
- Create a "contracts and influence database" which will disclose how much money is spent on lobbying and who is getting what contracts and why.
- Require appointees to conduct the significant business of the agency in public (via debates online)
-Nullify Bush´s attempt to make presidential records secret until years and years have passed.
- Disallow the signing of non-emergency bills without the American people being able to view it on the White House website, and comment for 5 days.
- Disclose of the names of legistlatures who request earmarks with an explanation 72 hours before they can be approved by senate.
- Require cabinet officials to hold townhall meetings to discuss issues.
- Disclose of public communications about policymaking.

These propositions are 100% non-political, and unless you disagree with democracy, there is no way you can argue against any of this. To me this is the single most important issue at stake and any other thing the candidate is running on does not matter if he is capable of doing what he proposes here.

This democratic reform, of course, assumes that Americans actually care and are willing to participate more democratically. This, I realize, is a big assumption.

I will close with a quote from Indecision 2008, a featured segment from Stephen Colbert´s Colbert Report, to transmit my strong desire for American democracy to work while at the same time suspecting that it might not:

"Don´t fuck this up, America".


Stacy and Bruno said...

Great post! Like you, I am excited and hopeful about these elections. I'm afraid to get my hopes up, though. How do we vote in absentia, any idea?

Gwen Jackson said...

Yeah, this comment is a bit late...but I have to tell you that I am absolutely adore that pirate too! I got his book for Christmas and it cracks my shit up! Anyway, hopefully you'll see this comment at some point :) Oh and great post!!! I guess your hopes were well founded.