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It’s just an election — what could happen?

November 4, 2008

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I just wrote some of my views on a different blog (sustainablegood.org) that I thought would be just as applicable here. Here it is with a couple minor changes:

Today is a big day. Lines of people are weaving in an out of polling places. “I voted” stickers are the newest fashion accessory of the day. Radio stations, news channels, and blogs are all talking about the election non-stop. Websites like www.fivethirtyeight.com obsessively count and recount the polls and are predicting the winners of the various campaigns throughout the country. This is a pretty big deal (understatement of the year.)

I was watching the Daily Show the other night and Bill Kristol, conservative op-ed writer for the New York Times, muttered (jokingly?) “It’s just an election.” Jon Stewart looked flabbergasted and replied, “Yeah, it’s just an election, what could happen?” Truth is, the person in the White House for the next four years will have a lot of power. And yes Bill Kristol, a lot can happen.

What would I like to see happen, you ask? It would be great if the United States triple its aid to poorer nations and cancel their debts. I’d also hope for a decrease in those little foreign escapades of ours (un-fair trade, war, arms trade, etc) that come with “unintended” effects such as displacement, refugee camps, poverty, disease, civilian deaths, lack of education, lack of water, unfair labor practices, well….the list goes on. Oh, and lets just throw in justice for Native Americans as icing on the cake.

These just happen to be the issues that I live my life for — and as I stood in line to vote the other day, I touched the name of the person on the computer screen who I thought would be more sympathetic to these issues.

The thing is — I’m quite the realist and I doubt that whoever the next president will be, he will do enough for the poorest billion people. It would be political suicide for any U.S. politician to give so much time and effort to those who need it most.

That’s why it’s up to those of us who have no political aspirations to take part in the political process by making our leaders as accountable as possible. If you voted in this election, you took the first big step in the process — but it’s only one step. Keep up with us at FCNL and help us keep our leaders up to date on what we want them to do with all the power we just gave them.

And I agree with Caroline — you HAVE to read Alex’s last post. She’s right on.

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