Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2004 - 12:28 a.m.
Cost of the War in Iraq
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The American Eagle and World Travellers Not
This excellent link (get out your reading glasses, I've been stuck here fascinated for almost half an hour) is provided thanks to Avalonte
It is "The Eagle's Shadow: Why America Fascinates and Infuriates the World. Apparently it is a series of excerpts of a book of that name by Mark Hertzgaard, copyright 2002 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Hardcover.
Here is an excellent thought-provoking excerpt of fact it contains:
"What does it say about American democracy that so many of our citizens consistently choose not to participate in selecting the nation's leaders? Our voter turnout levels are consistently lower than those of most other advanced capitalist democracies. In a measure of all elections between 1945 and 1998, the United States ranks 114th in the world in voter turnout, with only 48.3 percent of our electorate going to the polls. Italy ranks first, with 92.5 percent. Belgium, Holland, Sweden, New Zealand, Australia, and Germany are all in the 80s, while Spain has averaged 77 percent, the United Kingdom 74.9 percent, Japan 69 percent, France 67 percent, and India 61 percent."
I admit I myself had no idea of those percentages of voter turnout.
America the great Democracy. Uhuh.
Vote people. Please vote. Not voting, then saying "I didn't vote for him" as your president runs about the world (did you know that he had travelled abroad only THREE times before becoming president... hell, by the time I was 17, I, a child of a divorced waitress Mom from Saskatchewan, could say I'd been to Europe twice... and yes, I worked fulltime saving $ for a year to travel) doing questionable deeds in your name, is irresponsible. If you didn't vote you are STILL represented by him, whoever he is, and you are responsible, much as the parent of a child who kicks dogs while the parent stands by is responsible, through inaction, where you had every right to express your voice.
Did you know that only 14-21 percent of Americans hold passports? That is frightening for a "democratic" country whose policies (and soldiers) shape the world. What does it mean to people around the world when the first time the Americans they meet have been off American soil is to either invade them, or to export their goods or labour?? Hmmm.
Interesting the discussion at the passport link there revolves alot around Americans "not needing to travel since they have everything at home "even real Chinese in Chinatown". I am sure that seeing REAL Chinese in Chinatown gives one a good backing in how one's foreign policy affects other countries. Or helps one realize that the USA has only 5 percent of the world's population but consumes over a quarter of the world's ressources. Or gives one the experience of being the only foreigner in immediate view, and how that might feel to a new immigrant in a strange land. Hmmm. It is wonderful that the Americans think that Little Italy at Disneyworld is "just like Italy". I am sure the USA has Tibet and the Sahara Desert, Australia and New Zealand, Siberia and Thailand all within its borders. I am so glad that since America is so large and diverse, it doesn't need to see how other people live. Other people who live in a world that is full of American movies, American chains (whether McDonalds or Walmart), American military bases, American clothing and architecture which has nothing to do with their culture, geography or climate....
Sorry I have gone off on one. I just googled "percent of Americans with passports" to make sure the 14% in the Eagle link was right, and got so totally incensed by the attitudes expressed in "why should Americans travel??"... I really do NOT see Australians or Mainland Chinese dictating international policy and declaring worldwide laws on terrorism, rewriting international war crime law and basically sticking their fingers in every country that it is in their interests to stick their fingers into. THAT Is why it is appalling that the people who elect the president of the USA do not travel outside the USA. Because they want to make world policy, have a world empire, and STILL be navelgazing and insular.
Yes I have gone off on one. Sheesh.
Anyways, go read Eagle's Shadow. yeah.
Once again, a non-american studying America. Were that America would study the rest of us (without it being a question of "how can we best influence them in our interests?")
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Goodbye Michael. May your next life be kinder to you. - Thursday, Jun. 25, 2009
*inspired by Chaosdaily