Saturday, February 2, 2008

Oprah's choice

After opening the headlines on sarajevo-x yesterday that read 'federacija u mrak do 2015' it took all my strength to keep myself in the seat i was in. In fact, i had the urge to jump out of my skin. Last year I wrote in a START article that it was just a matter of time before those threats came to light. The same happens all over the world, old scare tactics die hard in the energy sector. But I have decided to research this subject even more...and therefore need a bit more time to dismantle and dispel the myth that the federation will be in the dark by 2015 if we don't build a hydro electric dam on every free flowing, potable waterway in the country. So stay busters coming soon.

So I will answer a fellow bloggers request to talk about the US elections. It will, i thoroughly agree, have an impact on the world and henceforth the little central Balkan state we call home. This will not be a political analysis but rather what i consider to be a very interesting point of view -- an American who left the US for philosophical reasons...maintained family and friends ties in the land of his birth....adamantly opposes the bulk of American foreign policy....and yet cherishes the spirit of justice, change, and free thinking that he inherited from his American upbringing.

I'd consider this the most important election of my lifetime. I was born in 1970, raised by one liberal democrat and a more centrist democrat. It became apparent to me as I reached adulthood that the word liberal in the United States is a dirty word to many. To be 'liberal' for me always meant more about justice, women and minority rights, universal health care, equal and fair access to education, and embracing the melting pot that I believe makes America special, than anything else. For many, I learned, liberal simply means more government intervention, more welfare checks, supporting gay marriages, and get this...this was the latest i heard on a radio talk show when i visited the states recently. It's a show that millions of Americans listen to....i couldn't believe my ears. Check this out...'liberalism is the satan that is destroying our country. Liberals, who promote homosexuality, pedophilia (I'm not kidding) and spread AIDS have finally been dealt a lethal blow. God's answer to liberalism (and he didn't mean neo-lliberalism), to fight this disease infecting our American society, is Islamic fundamentalism. This is God's punishment to us, he has sent the hordes of these Islamic extremists to punish us...' The show went on for hours...and at times i didn't know whether to laugh, cry or shoot myself on the spot. According to the talk show host, it would have made everyones lives easier if we 'liberals' would just commit mass suicide. But we decided to torture the evangelists a bit more though and stick around and spread AIDS, molest our children, and to antagonize both them and the extremist who have been sent by God to kill us.

So why is this the most important election in my lifetime? Well, for one, I have never witnessed America more split than i do today. Politics or political affiliations never really mattered that much between friends and family....but believe me today is a different story. The country is divided, bitterly so....but I think that is a good thing. It gives us an opportunity to gain more perspective and to re-check our values as a society. Eight years of Bush, Cheney and his finely tuned corporate and military machine have shaken the country to its roots. Thank goodness for that! Seriously.

There is no lack of hype about all the possibilities of 'first's' happening in American politics. Hillary Cinton could be the first woman US president. Barack Obama could be the first African American president. Mike Huckabee could be the first evangelist minister to become president of the most powerful country on earth. The first two excite me...the third scares me a bit - although I must admit that although I think his political views are 18th century puritan, he does seem to be a genuinely nice human being. Mitt Romney on the other hand, a sly and cunning former governor of Massachusetts, seems more to me like a weaslesque corporate clone. The only decent republican candidate, and indeed he is a decent man, would be John McCain. He certainly has the ability to reach both parties and bipartisan compromises. And although he's been in Washington DC for 25 years - it may have hardened him, but it certainly didn't break his moral character. For that, at the very least, he has my respect.

But let's get back to the exciting part....the Democrats. Many Bosnians love the Clintons, as do many Irish, Palestinians, Vietnamese, Albanians and Chinese. Clinton certainly did have a way with successful foreign diplomacy and despite the charade over his oral-sex affair - the US did seem to stand with two feet solidly on the ground in more ways than not. Bush quickly erased that...and that bothers a lot of Americans in a very big way. The Democrats just want Bush out - and out for good. With Bush and his depleting number of followers comes the onslaught of corporate America, whose loyalty lies with their only god. Profit at any cost. ANY cost. Full stop.

I wouldn't complain if Hillary Rodham Clinton was our next president. I wouldn't be able to boast, however, that i help put her there. A quarter of a century of the Clinton/Bush political dynasties scares the shit out of me. It's too much. Politics are a dirty game anyway, let alone when you have two families calling the shots for a potential 28 years! Hillary has some good ideas about the economy and health care- I am particularly fond of her Green Jobs approach. The world is changing, and we must adjust to that change or it will certainly adjust us. I think Green Jobs, in creating new technologies for energy, particularly in the auto and electricity fields, could create a heck of a lot of jobs. Spain and Germany are Europe's leader in that field, and employ an impressive number of people in creating and building solar and wind technology. Hillary would - no doubt - quickly bandage our badly damaged reputation with what would need to be the best Secretary of State the country's history. However, we mustn't forget, there are a tremendous amount of Americans who absolutely hate Hillary Clinton. They really despise her. I won't go into why right now.

That leaves us with Oprah's choice - the half Kenyan Muslim half Irish American Christian Barack Obama. The American dream in motion, isn't it?! I know that many often use the cliche's of fresh change...A Washington outsider. .. Not part of the political establishment. He is energetic and a great speaker -- and can at times sound like JFK and at times like MLK. I admire them both. He certainly has a perspective that no other legitimate presidential candidate has ever had in the history of US elections. Never has a half white / half black man stood before the American people and won the support of them both. He has moved the young population like no other president has done either. But again, a man's colour or race shouldn't have anything to do with who we vote for. I fully agree. And that exactly what he has done, transcended the race issue which has been a thorn in our side since the evil days of slavery. What swings me to the Obama camp are several things:

: if you look at the close inner circles of the Democratic intellectual elite -- the ones who were largely responsible for the successes of the Bill Clinton era -- they are almost entirely backing Obama. That speaks volumes to me. Abandoning the Clinton camp could not have been easy - but they did, and in large numbers. The support Obama has with both the democratic establishment and those dreaded 'liberals' who won't and can't be corralled by the powers that be are impressive to say the least.

America is a divided nation. And I'm really not kidding. I know good friends who aren't on speaking terms with their siblings because of this great political divide. Obama seems to attract black and white, young and old, working class and middle class. He's aware that many things in the US are horribly broken...and indeed immoral. I honestly believe that he has the ability to bridge that gap. Perhaps his young political career hasn't earned him enough enemies like the Clinton's have managed to. That can only be a good thing.

for me, America must make grassroots changes. The culture of consumation. The cultural imperialist attitude. The worlds top polluter per capita. Our ultra-capitalist principles that are destroying lives not only in America but across the global south. We need to put many things back into perspective. We need to be kinder to our own people and indeed our global neighbours. We need to be fairer, more ethical, and take the lead in creating political and economic harmony instead of leading the world in destroying them. His campaign is based on hope. And one thing i've always had through all my skepticism, criticism, and even, indeed, hope. Kurt Vonnegut, I feel, would share the same sentiment. So it goes.

I have no doubt that a democrat will be in the white house come next year. Whether its Hillary or Obama remains to be seen. Perhaps they will go in tandom, another first. My educated guess would be that Obama would possibly run as Hillary's VP should she take the Democratic nomination. If the cards were swapped, however, I don't think Hillary's (or Bill's) ego would allow her to take the back seat to the junior senator from Illinois. In that case, John Edwards is a good bet for Obama's VP candidate - a dynamic duo to take on corporate America and their Washington lobbyists. I am not naive enough to think that this election will fix what is wrong with America. It could, i sincerely hope, pave the way to get American moving in any direction other than the one that Bush has dragged us kicking and screaming through.

I must admit, though, that the American election process is rather perverted. The sheer amount of money spent on these campaigns is absurd. But what we will see in 2009 is what many of us hope is a serious and fundamental change to American society. The time has come. And from universal health care, alternative energy sources, intelligent foreign policy, and perhaps a tad bit of respect for the document that has given the guts and glory to the world's longest standing democracy. Bush and Cheney have shit and pissed all over the Constitution of the United States. That offends me. What offends me even more is that the very principles of that document which they chirp on about like parrots....freedom and liberty, are misused to manipulate, bully, kill, conquer, and humiliate people in every corner of our globalizing world. That, my friends (inshallah), will come to end in 2009.


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