This article was last modified on January 25, 2006.


Political Outlook, 2006

So, politics is a funny thing… there’s what I would call an “ebb and flow” of ideas, back and forth, as far as the power structure goes. Politics is largely reactionary and much less thought-out than one might like… rather than voting for a candidate who actually has good ideas, people tend to wait for a candidate to piss them off to go the other way. In the United States, people weren’t pissed enough in 2004 to get rid of Bush. And now in 2006, they are… so we might see a Congress go to the Democrats. It has nothing to do with the views, it’s “who pisses us off less”… although, one might argue that the two parties in this country aren’t really very different so the choice is minimal. (It’s true if we had some system where 5% of the vote would get you 5% represenation in Washington, we’d have more people voting for third parties… and maybe make some real progress.)

Iberia

The Iberian peninsula just became more confusing. There are a small handful of countries there, but mostly it’s just Spain and Portugal. Spain has debatably the most progressive government in Europe now (Zapatero). And Portugal just elected a very conservative man. This will largely not matter… when’s the last time Portugal had any effect on world poltics? But as far as an internal European thing goes, it could be interesting. Relations between Spain-Portugal won’t be as smooth, surely… and Portugal is vowing to work closer with the European Union. (I’m undecided if I like the EU or not… there are things to lke and things to dislike…)

South America

South America has become, for me, the most interesting political arena. Hugo Chavez in Venezuela is in league with Fidel Castro in Cuba, and both of them seem to be alright with Zapatero. Morales just got elected in Bolivia, bringing the power back to the people (Morales is not white, but Indian). He’s also nationalizing things, which I wholly support. Brazil has Silva, who is a socialist. A mild one compared to these, buth still progressive just the same (and compare him to Portugal’s new guy, since these are the 2 Portuguese speaking countries). In Chile, they just elected a socialist… again, a mild one. But still a move in the right direction. And she’s tough, having been a political prisoner of Augusto Pinochet for some time … this flow of power to the left in South America is awesome, and creates a great inspiration for other countries when these experiments succeed. Also, I think it annoys the United States. No, that’s a lie. I don’t think so, I know so. With Morales claiming to be a "nightmare" for Washington and Senator John McCain calling Chavez a "wacko", I think it’s pretty clear where our government stands.

Will this leftward flow continue? Elections are coming in Mexico. As the intro stated, the key is pissing people off. Are enough people pissed at the party of Vincente Fox? Hard to say… he’s done nothing really outrageous, and those new maps encouraging people to illegally immigrate into America will gain some points… (I support illegal immigration, by the way).

Canada

Canada is another key example of people getting pissed. The liberals controlled Canada for something like 13 years. And recently a scandal developed (I’m unaware of the details), so the election has produced a very conservative new leader. This is both bad and also not so bad. The bad is that allegedly he is even more of a conservative than President Bush. And more religious (not that religion is bad, but keep it out of government). So that should frighten some people. Especially those who fear the US is influencing Canadian culture… (Prime Minister Paul Martin was blaming rising gun deaths in Canada on American culture which is “inherently violent”, citing examples like our national anthem as proof. I agree this country has a violence problem, but I think our values pushing into Canada is exaggerated.)

Now, things are also not as bad as you might think. So if you’re thinking of moving to Canada, it’s still something possibly worth doing. Here’s why: Canada is far more progressive than America is. Key examples are universal healthcare and gay marriages. No matter how conservative the new guy is, he is not going to reverse these decisions. (Sort of like in America – you can have a Republican President, a Republican congress, and a conservative Supreme Court – you still won’t turn over Roe v. Wade.)

Also, I believe (though I’m sometimes wrong) in Canada they have a multi-party system, which means his party does not have a majority of control. He will need to win over some moderates to get things passed. This means that the worst that can happen, probably, is that things will not change much one way or the other for a few years because moderates will stop change. Andwhile I’d prefer Canada to get even more liberal, it’s reassuring to know they’re not likely to slide back into barbarian (i.e. American) thinking …

Also try another article under Political
or another one of the writings of Gavin.

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