American in Italy, events, expat, italy, politics, Uncategorized

USA Election Fever – My thoughts

2012…. year of another presidential election in America. We headed to an festa last night at SMS Rifredi in Florence. Live coverage of the election  was broadcast along with Mama’s Bakery & American Salad Co. items for sale with fun names like “barachide peanut butter” and “sloppy joe bidens” – delicious. You better believe I ate that cupcake.

As you might have already guessed I have been caught up in the USA election fever. On Tuesday President Obama was reelected to another four years in office and while I definitely don’t want to use my blog as any sort of political crusade, I feel every four years deserves a blog post on the subject so here goes. To recape – along with Obama’s victory, we now have our first openly gay senator in America, Tammy Baldwin – and a Harvard Law School professor, Elizabeth Warren, who has made history as the first woman elected as an US senator from Massachusetts. Gay marriage is becoming the new normal so… wow

My thoughts (aka opinion – I don’t ever assume what I say is a fact)

 I am happy that Obama won because I want to see what he has in store for the next four years and as a woman, some of the things that Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney have said these past months really scared me, scared me enough to not vote for them among other reasons. When I think of the power they would have had in congress with having a Republican majority in the house of representatives, I shiver because I don’t want to see the USA go back 50 years. I also did not see any concrete plan that I thought could potentially work to fix the American economy especially since I don’t like the constant barage of “never raise taxes”  since I do not believe that jobs will magically appear if taxes are cut, I just don’t. Does anyone still really believe that if they keep cutting taxes all will be saved? Nope jobs will still move overseas, that’s just the new normal.

People still want to buy their goods from China because it’s cheap and I doubt people are willing to pay more for American-made stuff even if they pretend they do. Hence most corporations to remain competitive will seek the cheapest labor possible, can I blame them?

I don’t think wall-street is acting in our favor since they can still legally bet against their own investors using derivatives, and they don’t feel particularly guilty about it. When you make 250,000+ a year with an additional bonus, I am sure the last thing they care about is long-term benefits for the investor OR the company. And especially, I do not like when religious ideology mixes with politics, it’s dangerous here and it’s dangerous elsewhere.

Do I agree with everything Obama says or does, heck no and yes the man still has a lot to prove. But until we have a serious third-party contender, I’ll take Obama for another four years quite happily and just see what happens because I like what he believes in. For me, health care coverage for all is one of the top issues that matters and I commend him for trying to reform our broken system.

Living abroad if anything has made me more updated and tuned in to what is happening across the pond and I think elections in America are important to everyone in the world, not just Americans. People in Italy, France, UK, Russia, China and more tuned in to see who would be elected president and when you think about that, you realize that it is truly amazing. I can’t imagine anyone back home doing the same for another countries presidential race – I really can’t. It’s truly humbling.

From what I have seen lately on my facebook feed (keep in mind I am from Texas, lived in California and have many friends abroad) it’s a hoshposh boiling pot of opinions, some outrageous, funny and – some just plain nasty. It really saddens me to see how divided our nation has become and facebook just proves how the power of the internet can have positive and more-often negative aftershocks. For example – having a simple conversation about politics can turn into ‘defriending’ on facebook, arguments about ‘whose smarter’, political e-card overload, threats to move to Mexico or Canada, and just general rediculousness online.

I obviously care maybe more than most for a girl in her twenties because I studied political science in college and can relate to both sides of the coin – once myself being very conservative and yet now I lean on the liberal side. I hesitate to say this because I don’t want to be bookmarked in any kind of category which probably will happen anyway. And that’s just the problem. Why do we have to be ‘one’ or the ‘other’ why has it become you are with us or against us? Why can’t adults act like adults and have a respectful conversation about the future of our country? I want to  be able to talk about politics and the economy over a cup of coffee but with people who have respect for one another and don’t look like their head is going to blow up like a telatubby the second you don’t agree with them.

As far as I know the world isn’t ending (maybe) and if you care about the outcome of elections, vote & get involved, that is your right as an American, so use it. Live life by example, if all the people wasting their time spewing hate online would use that energy for a greater good, the USA would be flying high, seriously.

We are lucky as Americans that we have the freedom to argue, fight, call each other names and insult our elected president, just try doing that in Thailand, Russia or Iran and you may just become acquainted with a jail cell.

One thing I have learned from these past months is that mud-slinging online is going to ensure only one thing – that no one listens to you or takes your opinions seriously. Why not stop and Listen, learn to articulate your thoughts well and who knows – you may just have a decent conversation with someone who thinks differently than you and perhaps even gain a friend. That to me is progress.

Italians tend to be more jaded about their political leaders. Every hot minute we read in the news about some Berlusconi gaffe or politician embezzling funds to buy an apartment in cash, woops! Americans are going down that path as well which sucks. Trust in politicians has faded considerably since congress has failed to do the only thing they are hired to do – which is learn to work together and build a better America. Instead they (both sides) often act like petchulant spoiled children that can’t seem to share their toys. I truly believe that our political system is flawed in the fact that it’s only two-party based – why not have a third or fourth party contender like other countries?

This among other reasons ensures that polarization is this seasons “little black dress”. Which is a shame because I really love my country and I also love a really cute black dress ;-).

Ok enough political rambling – I will solemnly promise that ‘Girl in Florence’ will never become a political thoughts blog but I just couldn’t help myself today. I really would like to hear your thoughts. Do you think people have ‘gone too far’ online or is this just the ‘new normal’? What do you think America has in store?

***Also I highly recommend downloading NPR’s This American Life “Red State Blue State”  podcast that has so many interesting viewpoints from those at both ends of the political spectrum.

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0 Comment

  1. Reply
    Tiana Kai (@TianaKaiMiami)
    08.11.2012 at 11:09

    I had a friend post on FB ‘None of my friends are voting for Romney, right?’. I mean I am not a Romney fan, but I was still offended. I found his post to be too triggered and narrow minded. We each have our personal reasons for either candidate. I don’t know why he could not have just posted ‘I’m voting for Obama, who’s with me?’. That is pretty direct too, but I rather have people speak well of who they want than just bash the other side. It’s so ridiculous.

    Nice post, and great points. Everyone just needs to chill! I have an article (not mine) in cue to be tweeted, discussing how outta whack we all got on FB. People are nuts.

    I read a great point on FB stating that if people have problems with who won or who people were voting for beforehand, then they should have volunteered to give more back than just resort to talking smack on FB.

    There should be a survey done to see if anyone even voted according to FB posts. Hopefully, our country voted on issues and not on FB bashing from either end.

    Here’s to Obama and the next quattro!

    1. Reply
      ggnitaly84
      08.11.2012 at 12:00

      Thanks Tiana for your thoughts :-). I find disgusting behavior on both the left & the right side of the coin and people just don’t know when to stop. I wish on facebook there was a “pending” button for political (or mahybe anything) posts since people must know that by being aggressive, no one is going to listen to you. It’s scary what I see lately on my facebook, you can’t help but judge people based on the crap they put out in public.

      1. Reply
        Tiana Kai (@TianaKaiMiami)
        08.11.2012 at 12:26

        I actually had a friend post that ‘it’s sad that i had to delete a friend today b/c they were posting political stuff on my wall. well if they knew me like a friend they would have known i don’t like to share politics on FB.’ kinda harsh, but good for her!

  2. Reply
    Joanna June
    08.11.2012 at 13:31

    Thank you for posting this! I very much agree and, thankfully, a decent amount of the talking-head and opinion pieces I have been reading (including the one you tweeted) seem to as well. It feels like we have been talking about “dirty” and “negative” politics for a long time and it would be better for the country and our citizenry if that truly began to change. The more positive and thoughtful voices the better. I will say this for Facebook: at least it isn’t anonymous. I don’t agree with some posts that “friends” made and I know they didn’t vote as I did, but they at least put their name to their belief and opinion and then I can weigh how much the thought and the tone of their statement influences my opinion of them in full context. Not just a faceless “other” but an acquaintance or friend. Kudos to you for putting your name to this and thanks for an all around kick-ass blog of helpful info and tips!

    1. Reply
      ggnitaly84
      08.11.2012 at 13:40

      Thank you so much Joanna, your comment really made my day! I could not agree with you more about the fact that at last facebook puts a face to name. There is nothing I hate worse than Internet trolls and sometimes you need to stand up for what you believe in and put your face out there no matter what. Lets just hope people can remember to respect one another and not stoop to grade-school name calling..

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