Sunday, October 19, 2008

Is America a Banana republic?

Having discussed the election with tons of people and following the election debates I find that freedom can have a lot of different meanings. Coming from Denmark it's sometimes difficult to discuss election issues because the word freedom comes in the way.

For me freedom means that I can go to the doctor whenever I want to for free. Freedom also means that my parents don't have to worry about my education, because it's free - the biggest worry is to find the right education. Freedom is receiving about 900 dollars a month in support for studying. Freedom is knowing that the government will distribute the wealth around so that - in theory - no Danish citizen would have to live on the streets. Freedom is leaving a lot of decision making to government, so I have time for other things. Freedom is receiving a voting ballot in my mailbox and not having to register.  Of course I pay a high tax to be able to enjoy this freedom - but if given a choice I would never change that.

In America spreading the wealth around is considered a terrible thing to say. McCain even used it as an attack on Obama at the last debate. People cherish their right to make every decision about their lives and thereby individualising freedom. People who have a good income can afford health care and have better chance of surviving in this world. (I can't believe that many Americans don't believe in evolution, when Darwin's theory about natural selection is built in in your perception of freedom)

I am aware of the cultural and historical differences between Denmark and the US - but still. Wouldn't it be easier to have health care and college education deleted from you expense list and to focus on other aspects of life instead?

The only reason you would say no to this is if you don't trust your government. When talking to my friend about this he said that he wouldn't want government to get more power because what might be used for good purposes under one president may be used totally different by another president. 

I began understanding this lack of trust towards the people in power and it's no wonder -  I mean if I was an American citizen I wouldn't want Bush to have more power than he has had the last eight years. 

But something is fundamentally wrong if you mistrust you government so much that you'd rather take away from the president's responsibilities and take care of them yourself. It resembles the shady governments in shady countries, where you never quite know what the government might do. 

I believe that Obama is going to change this culture of mistrust. He is saying all the right things - he seems like a listener and has earned the trust of the American people. But I understand know why some are hesitant with voting for him - there is a sense of fear installed in people.

And this fear is the fuel on the republican campaign machine. I really hope that American people have enough faith in Obama and let him show them and the world another sense of responsibility.

Like he said at the rally - I am going to be working for you! Please give him the chance.



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