Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The US Presidential Election from a Different Perspective

A some of you know or may not know I am an American who lives in Malaysia. The reason I live here is that I do not enjoy the same rights as other Americans in regards to sponsoring my family to come to the US to live with me. But that is another story. When Americans living at home in the US watch the presidential debates or other campaign events they get together over coffee or a beer to discuss politics. When I watch the debates I get together with my Malaysian friends and some British or other European friends to discuss politics. The results are a bit different.

Needless to say people over here are neither Democrats nor Republicans. At best they could be called Independents. To a person, people here do not understand why American presidential campaigns are so very long. They also think that the amount of money spent on the campaigns is obscene, especially in light of the number of Americans who are out of work and in need of assistance.

Malaysian and Europeans living here had and still have a strong dislike for George Bush and his policies. They saw him as an arrogant cowboy who completely disregarded the views and opinions of the rest of the world. To them Bush was the true definition of the "Ugly American". When Obama was elected people rejoiced. First of all he was of a different race and to them he personified the American Dream and the equality of all men. They didn't know that the very fact he was of a different race would hinder his presidency. They now know that America is not a country free of bigotry and racism.

During the campaign for the Republican nomination for President  my friends here were amazed at how much of a part the Christian religion played during the campaign. They thought that there was no connection between religion and the government. I tried to explain that there isn't a connection, but certain Christians try to force their beliefs on other people, as the Taliban does. They were also confused as to gay rights and women's rights being brought up during the campaign. They thought that ALL Americans have equal rights. Unfortunately I had to explain to them that even though the United States frequently criticizes other countries in regards to their human rights, this country does NOT grant the same rights to all of her citizens.

Another confusing segment of the campaign, to foreigners, is why there was such a fuss about granting healthcare to all Americans. My friends here wrongly thought that ALL Americans have affordable healthcare. They could not understand why the richest country in the world would not grant affordable healthcare to everyone. They also could not understand why people like the Republicans didn't want everyone to have healthcare. But one of the biggest confusions, not only of the campaign, but of our society in general is why are there so many mass murders and so much gun violence in the US. They are confused as to why none of the candidates argued strongly in favor of gun control and less violence. They do not understand that the gun lobby basically controls who will be elected President and the American people are forced to live with periodic shootings and mass murders.

In watching the debates no one here sees even the slightest interest in Mitt Romney. They view him as another George Bush. An inexperienced cowboy, albeit a very rich one. They view Romney as arrogant and not caring about the average person. They see him as wanting the office to merely increase his wealth. They do not believe Romney has shown an intelligent view of the plights of other countries and peoples of the world, especially Malaysia. They also tend to compare him to the elite royalty of some countries. They still see hope in an Obama second term and see fear in the possibility of a Romney presidency.

I am sure there will be some people who will discount what I have said here, saying that foreigners should have nothing to do with American politics, as it doesn't concern them. But it does. What America does effects, not only our country, but all of the countries of the world. Just ask the families of the thousands of innocent citizens of Iraq or Afghanistan who have been killed in the two Bush wars. And don't forget the present global economic mess which was precipitated by the greed of just a few of American bankers and mortgage lenders. It's time that Americans wake up and realize that Americans are NOT the only ones in this world who matter. We now live in a global community where everyone matters and every life has a meaning.

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