Talking American Politics Abroad

Oct 16, 2008

Generally when I go out with friends, I am the only American in the bunch (unless you count that Anna is British, but also American as of this past summer). I like hanging with people from all over, but you're often called upon to answer for what ALL Americans think, did, voted, etc.

Last weekend we went to dinner with a few friends, there were two French Canadians, one Austrian, one Swiss, one Russian and Hans and I. It's pretty interesting to talk to Europeans about their political systems and the problems they have (mainly because I can't recall learning anything about modern European history in college), but you often end up explaining what's happening in the US. I'm no poli-sci major, in fact, news and politics didn't become interesting to me until the last 8 years or so, so I don't know the answers to tough political questions. I can't tell what the political machine was thinking when Bush got elected or we went to war, but I know it feels like a bit of a clusterf*** now.

A couple days later I got trapped talking to an Italian lady at lunch about Americans. She basically let me know that we shouldn't be as arrogant as to think that everyone everywhere should speak English (uh, preaching to the choir, lady, besides we were having said conversation in Spanish), nor should we come to Mexico and buy property and think that we actually should be granted any sort of rights because we own property (I wasn't actually following her logic on that one). Then she went on about how the only hope for the world was if Obama was elected. Strange.

That got me thinking. It seems like everyone I have run into abroad (at least non-Americans) are pretty strongly pro Obama. Today I ran across this website that shows how the world would vote in the US election if they could. I guess that explains it.


jillian said...

Burkina Faso can have him, as far as I am concerned. He can be king and Winky can be his beauty queen!

Steve Cotton said...

During my Mexico visits, I have run into a wide range of political views. Admittedly, most fall into a rather narrow range, but I have talked with the most reactionary of conservatives and most confiscatory of socialists. I suspect that the Obama complaints will begin in about a year or so. It is the nature of we voters. We elect them, then we hate them.

Johnny said...

A lot of it comes from the media who are very good at blowing things out of proportion. If I were and American citizen and called to vote, I would vote Democrat for the simple reason that the Bush years weren't all that great (record govt. spending/deficits, mismanagement of the New Orleans crisis, environmental issues). However, if the Reps come out on top at the next election, life will not come to a doomsday ending, life will go on for everyone with its usual ups and downs.

angelin said...

To understand how people here in mid-America look at the world, it helps to recall an extraordinary polarity in the last presidential election. 60% of Oklahomans voted for Bush in 2000. Only three states voted in a significantly larger percentage for Bush: Wyoming at 68%, and Utah and Idaho at 67%. Move over from the Rockies to the Great Plains, start at the Canadian border and move south, and the percentage of support for Bush is almost identical: North Dakota 61%, South Dakota 60%, Nebraska 62%, Kansas 58%, Texas 59%. This is the bedrock of the doctrine of American pre-eminence.
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Fned said...

I agree.... lately it seems that everytime I meet someone and they learn that I'm (half) american, all they're interested in talking about is Obama. Not that I mind (I'm quite a political person myself!) but it seems that in Europe nobody can understand why anyone in America would NOT want to vote Obama.

It's like they consider it the only INTELLIGENT option. Still, and although my vote is going for the Obama/Biden ticket, I can also understand there being the counterbalance and I find it logical that some people would NOT want to vote for Obama and prefer the other team. It's called democracy.

Except when I try to explain this here, people just nod their heads and say "see? this is why americans get laughed at around the world"