Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Election Day!

Hey Bloggees,
Election day has come and gone and we now have a new President Elect. It is strange watching it from afar. No campaign ads, no mass mailings and no phone calls seeking opinions. No letters to the editor trying to sway my vote, no vandalism or desecration of yard signs, no idiots in gas masks or holding doom and gloom signs, just CNN reporting the results and providing world views. The most positive thing to take away from this election is that from the outside looking in, the process of democracy in the U.S. fared well.
Here in Zambia, we just finished a presidential election last week. There was some campaign mudslinging, some outrageous and comical campaign promises and a few veiled threats. But nothing like the campaigning that goes on in the U.S. There is very little media coverage, a few rallies and no debates.
However, individual Zambians are very willing to speak with you about their issues and the candidates they support. One marked difference is that the Zambians are not disrespectful to others who hold opposite views and don't engage in personal attacks on the candidates. Whereas, I cannot say the same for my hometown where I have been following the Durango Herald throughout the campaign.
It always cracks me up when I read a letter to the editor written by a Durangotang endorsing a presidential candidate. First of all, what egomaniac thinks that they possess such foresight and knowledge thrust upon only them that the rest of us dolts of La Plata County do not possess. Secondly, what makes them so egotistical to think that they are somehow able to harness such incredible knowledge and foresight of the Country's and World's issues from their home in Durango, Colorado, and thereafter, disseminate it into golden nuggets of literary treasure so the rest of us who have been anxiously awaiting to fill out our ballots can now do so after being fully enlightened. Yet these party stalwarts (and you all know who they are) are not deterred. OK enough with the campaign rant.
Another thing that was markedly different between the Zambian election and the U.S. election was that here we had to plan for for emergency evacuation just in case violence broke out after the results. Fortunately, the Zambians remained true to their label as a peaceful people. The election was decided by less than 40,000 votes and the projected frontrunner did not win. However, there was no violence which is something the Zambians can be very proud of.
It was the first election ever where I actually had to think about whether or not a transition of power would go smoothly. Never once in the U.S. elections was I worried that the incumbant would refuse to acknowledge a new leader nor did I ever feel threatened to vote one way or the other. I guess what I'm trying to say is that we should all be thankful we have the form of government we have and not take it for granted.

2 comments:

Melody said...

those "durangotangs" are really from CA or TX don't ya know. :)

Candelaria Design said...

James - well written even for a Durangotang! It is always so interesting to see how walking out of the forest gives you a new view of the trees. I wish we could take every American to a foreign country for just a week and see how their view of the world and our USA changes. Keep the blogs and photos coming. I enjoy them a lot.