Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Election and its Impact

It is a curious phenomenon - in the US, many people are guarded about exactly who they are voting for. Especially if one thinks it might be unpopular with the person asking because we are uncomfortable with confrontation. At least I am. I've never been quick with the tongue and I need to process information - not a good candidate for the debate team.

In Switzerland - I can't speak for all of Europe - people want to know exactly who you have voted for. For Pete's sake - in some towns, they still all show up to vote in person with a raised hand! No joke. As my German teacher said "Yes, you may be the only one to cast a vote for something unpopular but your vote is respected. No one will ambush you on your walk home."

From the Democratic party primary's to the selection of Palin as McCain's running mate, US politics has been a main topic of conversation with neighbors - and for Bart with co-workers/clients. A friend from China and another from S Korea have watched with extreme interest. They have all been very involved and concerned as they watched what was happening in the US.

People are very quick to point out our (America's) problems. What they see us doing wrong. What they think we should do to make it right. Occasionally admitting they have some areas that could use a little work. It is curious also that they see the results of this election as the impetus to great change and hope for the future - because of the man. I find that to be a lot of pressure for one man. I'm also thankful that my ultimate hope rests with God and not in man.

There is no doubt that history has been made and the people have made it clear they want change. It is just interesting to see it from a different perspective. That of people not living in the US and who are affected primarily by foreign policy. Not by the daily, grassroots trickle down that will occur with such change. Their eyes glaze over a bit when I discuss health-care, immigration or religious freedom issues.

For them, it's really about what the US is going to do for the world, what the US is going to support, where the US is sticking its nose into. It is curious how the US is seen more favorably right now with Obama as President-elect. Their hopes are all tied up in a person. I certainly hope he is successful at his job. He needs our prayers. It is a difficult task he has ahead of him.

I have had very frank conversations with Swiss re: the difficulty of being in Europe during a time when the American government isn't popular. You are your country's politics to some people - regardless of personal views and beliefs.

Hmmm - wonder if the attitudes will change now? All because of an election. Or will they wait a while and see how things go first?


A Thank You to all who have served and fought for our Country.
Our thoughts are with you this Veteran's Day.

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