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Mark your calendars

21 January 2008 · No Comments

I was going to make an attempt to keep this a fairly non-political space. However, as I am pretty fascinated by politics and as this blog is called ‘the world according to bob’, I figure what the hell. Today marks the first day of the last year of the Bush administration in office! The next president will be inaugurated on 20 Jan 2009! Mark your calendar! There is hope. It is only a year away.

A couple of the reasons I am over here in Germany is to gain another perspective on the world and to see how other people view the US. As the token American on Svalbard this past summer, I was frequently asked (if not this exact question, something very similar to this), “How can you (meaning America) be so stupid? Twice?” It is a hard question which does not have a good answer. However, I found a quote from Steve Running (University of Montana ecologist and part of the IPCC that shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore) after his speech was canceled at a high school last Thursday that may be the best answer to this question: “I think there’s a faction of society that is willfully ignorant, that they just don’t want to know the facts about this..” While the quote was referring to climate change, I think can be applied broadly to a number of topics.

I have also been asked by a number of people about who do I think is going to win or what do I think of so-and-so. It is clear that everyone is watching and has a vested interest in who we choose to be our next president.

While I follow politics closely, I am usually able to laugh at its absurdity – a defense mechanism that keeps me fairly sane. However, on Friday, something happened that changed the comedy into anger and frustration. I am not sure what it was, maybe just a cumulation of the constant stream of crap that just keeps flowing by. Following are some of the thoughts that kept me awake for many hours Friday night — The Iraq war: the DoD has now confirmed 3939 coalition casualties in Iraq, the World Health Organization estimates between 104,000 – 223,000 violent Iraqi deaths since the beginning of the Iraq war, and UN estimates that 2.3 million Iraqis have been displaced inside their country while another 2.4 million have fled Iraq. That’s a lot of people, families, relatives, and friends whose lives have been turned upside down. Last week Canada (although they are now back peddling undoubtedly due to US political pressure) listed the US as a site of torture (along side Afghanistan, China, Egypt, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Mexico and Syria). The US also ranks alongside Thailand, Taiwan, Singapore, Russia, China and Malaysia as the worst countries in terms of civil liberties. Suspended Habeas Corpus. Trite Geneva Conventions. Guantanamo Bay. Babbling about Iran. Russia is pissed and threatening the use of nuclear weapons. And then there is the complete hypocrisy that is Sen. Larry Craig and his attempts to change his plea of disorderly conduct (for attempting to solicit sex) in the Minneapolis Airport. I could go on and on and on, but that is not the point I am trying to make. These are just some of the things I’ve thought about. All I know is that our actions are speaking louder than our words.

Only one more year.

Tags: blog · Life · politics