An Observer from Without

I think that I am lucky to be on this part of the world at the time of presidential elections. There is so much to learn about the mixing pot that is called America. Such diversity in opinion coupled with respect to each and every thought. Whites, blacks, Hispanics and Asians are all engaged in heated conversations to elect the one who speaks their needs, regardless of the color or the ethnic background. And the efforts that the candidates have to exert to win the presidency is overwhelming, nothing different from where I come from, I guess! (just kidding)
When I was in LA, about a week ago, my host and I went shopping at one of the malls when we got interrupted by a young man at the door. He had some forms in his hands and asked us to register for the elections. How convenient, I thought. In my country, we had to go to a designated place, on a certain time period to register. And whoever missed the registration period, would loose his/her right to vote.
While my friend was filling her registration form, I had a little chat with the young man who seemed very intelligent about the world around him. Unlike the seventies, young people today are much more interested in politics, and are more knowledgeable about America’s foreign policies. We talked about the situation in Kuwait after the invasion, and discussed the general direction of the country, rich and small, being trapped in what I name the “Gulf triangle”; Iraq, Iran and Saudi Arabia. I remember in the seventies whenever I mentioned that I was from Kuwait, people would ask me if Kuwait was located in Mexico!
But the thing that astounded me the most was people’s reasons for selecting a candidate over the other. This young man, for example, was going to vote for McCain. When I asked; why? He said, for his Christian values! And when I asked what does that mean and how would this factor make any difference, he was lost for words. Now, honestly; what does a statement like “Christian values” mean? Such a vague and general statement is misleading when the country’s constitution is secular. Gay marriages and abortions, for example, should not be taken as benchmarks since they are issues of much debate and controversy, even among Christians themselves. What about “evolution”? Are Christian values above science? Give me a good reason, caucus me, as Bill Maher said in one of his shows (btw; I love this guy). Convince me. Did anyone notice McCain’s teeth? Now honestly, a man running for presidency, and on the spotlights 24/7 should have better teeth. If anything distinguishable about American celebrities, it’s their beautiful, white teeth. OK, this was beyond my point.
Another person I met at my host’s resident, a well-known writer, said that she’s voting for McCain because he has much more experience than the rest. OK, this sounds convincing, experience is an asset. But being in the trade longer than the others does not guarantee that this person is a better decision maker. And announcing that he’s willing to stay in Iraq a hundred more years does not sound to me as a man of much experience, especially in foreign policy. Does this person realize that being in Iraq for long means more casualties? How would he explain that to the families of those solders sent to face their fate in a mine-land ? Doesn’t he realize that America can’t play the role of God and that it’s time to leave the Iraqis to settle their own internal affairs? I would understand it if he had said that he has a set schedule for withdrawal, based on his experience, but to say what he said, sounds too arrogant to my ears. Besides; being in Iraq is an excuse for more radical insurgents. Not to mention how costly this whole endeavor was, paid from the taxes that could be used to better the internal situation. Every once and a while we hear of an old bridge collapsing down because of poor maintenance, isn’t it a shame that a country that is considered to be leading the world policy can’t ensure its own people’s safety with such deteriorating infrastructure?
My host’s daughter, who’s in her early twenties, said that she’s undecided, yet. When someone mentioned Obama, she said that she could not imagine the president of the United State having a middle name of “Hussein”! And that was the main reason why she wasn’t going to vote for him! A very intelligent young woman, in her late years of college, and I loved her. But this statement sounded eerie, and definitely unintelligent. Another lady l met said that she’s not voting for Clinton because she is an opportunist; she did not react to her husband’s scandal with Monica Lewinsky when he (her husband) was in power, she said, because she had her own political agenda. Am I the only one who doesn’t see anything wrong with that? And besides; who isn’t an opportunist when it comes the land of opportunities?
Being a woman who was betrayed by my husband, I do realize how painful this experience must have been. Not to mention the stress she was under, being the first lady and not enjoying a private life like others. And I do admire the fact that she strived to keep this matter to herself. If anything, this shows the power of her will and determinacy. Life had taught me never to underestimate the power of a woman in pain. And a big part of the president’s trait should be his ability to be diplomatic in worst circumstances. And Hillary has sure proved that. And I do not see any difference between her and Obama when it comes to internal affairs, except for her ability to reach people, to speak their language, with their mentality, and not the mentality of a poor rich girl, in an imaginary high castle.
And as of yet, I have not run into someone who would be willing to vote for Huckabee. May be because I live in California and not the south, which is more conservative. But I truly like this person. He’s very funny, in a naïve way. I like to listen to him when he gives his speeches. And when he said that he’s willing to change the constitution to be in accordance with the bible, I was really amazed. Is this guy for real? He reminded me of Altabtubai, one of the hard-liner MPs in Kuwait’s pathetic parliament. But to give such a statement in a country like the United States, was shocking. I do realize that he was trying to lure conservative, evangelical votes, but I think this is going too far. How could someone defy the values on which Americans fought for all their lives? But nevertheless, he is amusing.
Now going to the last candidate, Obama. At first, I was skeptic about him. After all, he was born to a Muslim father, and there is a big risk that this may affect his policies, especially when dealing with Moslem leaders. But the more I got to know him, the more I was amazed by his personality. This person was born to a Moslem father. And according to Islamic law he is a Moslem unless he denounces his religion. And when he announce it publicly, according to Shareea law, his blood becomes halal. Which means that he is an infidel who deserves the penalty of death. About few moths ago an Afghani student wrote about discriminatory acts of Islamic Shareea on Moslem women. And the Afghani courts accused him of apostasy and issued a death penalty. Now notice the difference between this person and a person who announces his rejection to the religion of his birth to the world. In other words, Obama committed the biggest sin. And I wonder, where are the fatwas of religious leaders of the world. Why are they so deadly quite when it comes to such a prominent figure? I guess we’ll all have to wait and see what’s cooking, if Obama wins the presidency.
I do admire this person greatly; he has guts. He is a true phenomenon, being born to a Kenyan foreign student, got some Islamic education in his early age, having “Hussein” as his middle name, and above all, he’s black. Race is still an issue when it comes to the United States. And still, being able to reach the level he has reached in this race is a real miracle. I do realize that this country is the country of opportunity. And without this system, neither Clinton, nor Obama could have had a chance. But still, what Obama has reached is beyond comprehension. He changed much of my old beliefs about America and the American people.
As an outsider, I would care more about his foreign policy, especially in his quest to fight terrorism. This person understands the Islamic mentality, and therefore, he’s more equipped to talk their language. And by no means I meant being lenient as Jimmy Carter. On the contrary, he is more equipped to give them what they deserve, to fight them with their own language, and in their right places. And to feel for the innocent people who are trapped between politicians. I could foresee in him a better potential for foreign affairs amongst all the other candidates. He is also one of the middle class people who lived the misfortunes of the system, and his experience might not much rely on his years in the senate, but he has it on life in the United States. He’s just too close to people to be rejected on all the other bases. And he had made history, regardless of the outcome of the elections. Just one surf on the Net, and you can see that some people, who are supporting him, even financially, are the common people and the youth. And as I said before; this is the time for the young generation. I would not expect drastic changes in his foreign policy though, don’t take me wrong, the American system was built on solid bases, and it was never a “one man show”, as we have in the third-world countries. But nevertheless, there will be a change. And it only takes the youth to take this risk. I don’t remember who it was who said, “the biggest risk in life is not to take one at all”. Risk is essential at times to make a difference. And I can see how this person can slowly change the direction with more diplomacy and less wars.
And as I mentioned before; the white house has been too white for too long, it needs a little tint.
I wish I was an American, not only to give you my vote Obama, but also to campaign for you. You sure deserve it.