Saturday, November 22, 2008
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Sunday, November 09, 2008
I love my wife and take a great deal of pride and pleasure in the kids I have here, and I miss the two that are not here. Life is as normal for me as it was when I lived in England, and it is for everyone else.
It's sometimes hard to see the differences, but they do exist. For a start, I am an Alien in this place. I have no right to be here, I live here by permission and with the consent of the authorities. This consent is conditional, and could be removed. Most people live in their country of birth and never experience the unsettling feelings associated with immigration. Not a daily thing, but it creeps up sometimes.
I try to avoid comparasions as much as possible. It isn't fair to compare America with the UK. America is not the UK and shouldn't, even in my own mind, be subjected to negative comparasions. A bit of me does wish that Americans would do some comparing, however, they might find such an exercise er ... illuminating. But that's not how Americans do things. Well, at least it isn't how the American leaders have done things in the last eight years but I suspect that is about to change.
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
I'm not pissing on parades here ...... Oh no!
I am an Englishman living in Oklahoma, and at 10pm CST last night, I danced for joy in my living room, with my American wife at my side, and my three American kids asleep in their beds.
They were drinking champagne and crying. Good for them.
One thing, however, sums up the state of the nation. Despite the joy, and amid the celebrations, several onerous Propositions passed up and down the country. Several were defeated too but it was a mark of the work still to be done.
As Barack Obama, the 44th President of the United States of America (Oh I love the sound of that), said ..... this is a beginning.
One simple fact struck me about the next President ....
He only finished paying off his Student Loans in 2006 !!
There, in that sentence, is the whole of it. We can look at healthcare, we can examine the economy, as we must, and we can make policy to mend what is broken, and advance that which is succeeding. We can foster inclusion, and we can and will end discrimination wherever and whenever it rears it's head.
If we want an idea of the depth of the problems though, this one small fact highlights it all.
The man we just elected President paid off his student loans only 2 years before he was elected Leader of the Free World.
It's as sobering as it is joyful.
Monday, November 03, 2008
If you live in a safe Red State, why bother?
You won't change the result, you won't even influence the result. It's eight hours in-line to be pointless, right?
Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong and even more wrong.
There are a number of good reasons to vote tomorrow, even if you do live in Oklahoma, or indeed, Utah. You get the picture.
MoveOn just sent my wife an email, and I can't find a link so I'll quote:
Big margin = big mandate. The popular vote doesn't put anyone in the White House, but it affects what presidents can do when they get there. Want Obama to be able to actually do the stuff he's been talking about? Pass universal health care? End the war? Then we need a landslide.
The other things on the ballot matter! For example: Congress. Without more support in the House and Senate, Obama will have a hard time getting progressive laws passed. Plus, there are other important local races and ballot questions in some places.
If you don't vote, everyone can find out. Voting records are public. (Not who you voted for, just whether you voted.) Pretty soon, finding out whether you voted could be as easy as Googling you.
Help make history. You could cast one of the votes that elect the first African-American president. If we win, we'll tell our grandchildren about this election, and they'll tell their grandchildren. Do you really want to have to explain to your great-great-grandchildren that you were just too busy to vote in the most important election in your lifetime?
People died so you'd have the right to vote. Self-government—voting to choose our own leaders—is the original American dream. We are heir to a centuries-long struggle for freedom: the American revolution, and the battles to extend the franchise to those without property, to women, to people of color, and to young people. This year, many will still be denied their right to vote. For those of us who have that right, it's precious. If we waste it, we dishonor those who fought for it and those who fight still.
There is another reason .....
Tomorrow, history will be made. There will be a paradigm shift in both the politics and attitudes in this country, the like of which hasn't been seen since forever, and certainly since JFK.
This great nation will elect a black President. They will elect Barack Obama not because he is black, but despite the fact that he is black. They will elect the best man for the job, and for the first time, his skin color is a secondary issue for many, and a non-issue for others.
There is no going back. From the ghettos in New Orleans to the Projects in New York, black kids the country over will, for the first time, be able to believe that they CAN be anything they aspire to.
There is NO going back. The genie cannot be squished back into the bottle. The skinny black kid is will be President and, by and large, white people elected him.
It has been a long time coming. Too long, actually, but the moment is almost among us.
Regardless of the progress made in the next 4 years, the actual event will inspire, and free up the hopes of millions.
Racism will not end. It will not end in my lifetime. But tomorrow, with a fair wind and your vote the end comes a giant leap closer.
The reason to vote #6?
I was there! It was an historic moment in our nation's development. It was our Woodstock, our Moon Landing. We elected Barack Obama and I was there. I did my bit, and I can tell my grandchildren that ...
I was there.