The World According to Nick
My take on Software, Technology, Politics, and anything else I feel like talking about.
Monday, October 18, 2004

Shannon You Ignorant Slut 

Well, after some goading, my brother-in-law Shannon has finally posted to his blog called "You Ignorant Slut". Normally I would take the time to introduce him to all of you, but he does a much better job of that himself. I should say before anything else that I love Shannon like a brother... I mean a blood brother. I don't think there is anything that either one of us wouldn't do for the other. The only reason I use the term brother-in-law here is because I will also refer to my sister Sarah (his wife) from time to time... and I didn't want you all to start hearing banjos plucking in the background. So when I give him shit (and I will), it is out of love... and as they say, nobody beats up my brother but me. With that out of the way, I would recommend that you read his first real post. When you're done, come on back and you can read my response.

The first thing he does is talk about the ignorance of the average voter in comparison to the interest that foreigners are taking in our elections. Well duh. Given the chance, only half of Americans will vote in a Presidential election, and even fewer will vote in state and local elections that, realistically, are far more important to their every day life. Right now, how many of you can name your state legislative representatives? If you have kids in school, do you know the name of a single member of your school board? All people seem to care for are sound bites, and that's all the main stream media care to feed us with. Who's fault is that? I couldn't even begin to speculate. But let's move past that onto some of the other things Shan talked about.

When the Cold War ended (thanks again for that Ron), we were left as the only real super power (some would even call us today a hyper-power). This happened as a result of two choices made some time ago. Choice one was made by us. We decided to fight fascism, totalitarianism, communism, and any other "ism" that came along in an effort to preserve Democracy for all who wanted it. Choice two was made by a lot of other countries to let us. Look at our traditional allies in "Old Europe". We are their defense, and they let us be their defense. They've been able to spend a great deal of their money on social programs (which frankly haven't worked out too well for them in my humble opinion) because we've been watching their back, and they haven't had to spend it on defense. But does that abdication of their defense to us give them say in our governance?

To say that we are looked down upon by the rest of the world because of GW Bush is to only have a short memory. Europe, and the rest of the world in general, has had a poor opinion of America, and Americans for a long time, even when their favorite president of all, BJ Clinton held the office. We had the power after the Cold War, and suddenly for good or ill, we were the new defacto enemy. We exported our technology, our culture, and a lot of other things for others to consume. We have been chiding for a long time for exporting McDonald's to any country that will take it, utterly destroying other cultures. The book "Why Do People Hate America" makes this very case. But the important thing rarely mentioned... is that McDonald's isn't going to go some place where they can't sell product. So somebody in these countries has to be buying it up. But the fact remains that we have been a lightning rod for a lot of global griping for a long time, and that right now George W. is just the newest thing they've decided to gripe about. To think that a President Kerry will suddenly right all those wrongs and bring them aboard is pretty foolish. France and Germany (Old Europe) have said several times that Kerry's promises of their help in Iraq if he were president won't materialize. Why is that?

The answer is simple. They don't deem it to be in their country's best interest. The French don't seem to care that they are a particular ridiculed group of people here (see Cheese Eating Surrender Monkeys)... yet it's suddenly important that they like us? France and many other countries in the beloved U.N. were bought by Saddam... and I mean bought with oil-for-food money, yet these are the people who we need to ask permission from? The fact of the matter is that they have always, and will continue to always do what they think is best for their electorate because that it ultimately who they answer to. We should simply do the same.

Of course if you want to look at the power of outside influence on elections, look no further than Spain. Look no further than Iraq, where kidnapping foreigners has become an epidemic. Why is that? Could it be that countries will pay them off? Could it be that countries will pull their troops out to get their people back? Here's a question for you. Do you think that the "success" of the Spanish train bombing (in so far as it changed the outcome of those elections) will make it more or less likely that something similar will happen here? Do you think that buying back hostages in Iraq has increased or decreased the likelihood that more hostages will be taken there? And what do you think that money will be spent on? They can buy lot's of flying lessons now.

Personally I would be very careful to say that someone got elected to our Presidency due to international influence. If we give that sort of power now, they'll begin to flex that muscle whenever, and however they choose (i.e. Spain). It's a dangerous precedent to set. When I vote, I won't vote to placate the rest of the world. There's a cost to that too. Vote based on what's important for you, not what's important for others.

Comments:

Well, once again you missed the point Scooter. The blog was to point out HOW closly the international community is watching our election. My main thesis however is that up until now the American public has not been directly associated with the American Government or global corporations like McDonalds. What makes this election different is that it could change that basic assumption about individual Americans. We are currently the only military super-power but in the next decade or two we will not be the only economic super-power. I reccommend reading MegaTrends Asia http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0684827069/002-7361358-1363242?v=glance and start learning Chinese. I know you think that the world just drops off when you leave our borders but the trend continues toward the death of the nation state. It is of direct strategic importance that we develop closer relationships with the rest of the world. Not just for the good of humanity but for purely selfish reasons as well. The future of our success as a nation depends directly on how we integrate into the international community.

  Posted at October 19, 2004 3:09 AM by Blogger Shannon McCoy  
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Name: Nick
Home: Wauwatosa, WI, United States

I'm a Software Consultant in the Milwaukee area. Among various geeky pursuits, I'm also an amateur triathlete, and enjoy rock climbing. I also like to think I'm a political pundit.


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