Grateful 51

Earlier this week, I sent out an e-mail to my North American friends, those living within the USA and those living without. I included a link to American author Jake Lamar’s video on why he’s not disappointed with President Obama. I was quite taken with it as a piece of rhetoric, even if his eye contact leaves a lot to be desired. It’s also just a tad on the lengthy side. Semantically, it was pleasing, convincing, and passionate. But I wanted to know about the content. And, as I’m not in a position to judge, not living in the States myself, and being a trifle more concerned about what’s been going on here of late, I asked my friends, each of whom I trust and whose opinion I value, to comment.

Predictably, some really liked it, thought it made sense. They voted for Obama and will vote for him again. Others had mixed feelings – Lamar got some issues right, and others wrong – they’d voted for Obama and would consider voting for him again but their vote isn’t in the bag. And then there were those who didn’t vote for him and won’t vote for him and think he’s the worst thing ever to happen to America.

The whys and the wherefores are neither here not there. I don’t intend this to be a discussion on whether Obama is the man or not. What I’m grateful for is that I have a diversity of friends who are educated, passionate, and up to date with what’s going on in their world. They shared their opinions and experiences with me, pointed me in new directions (e.g. what’s happening with SB1070 in Arizona;  and is it really 1963 in America again), and gave valid arguments for their reasoning.

The net result is that I now know more than I did on Monday and am a lot clearer about what I’d do were I in the USA and voting. Consensus is not important. I don’t have to agree with my friends for them to be my friends. In being able to challenge their opinions and likewise to have to stand beside my own, is a very valuable exercise. Diversity is key… diversity of opinion, of taste, of reasoning. Surrounding ourselves by like-minded people while wallowing in the same type of information will simply serve to narrow our perspectives and make us more insular.

So, at the end of this, the second week of 2012, I am truly grateful for my friends and their continuous edification; for opening new doors and beckoning me through.

3 replies
  1. Ginger Paque
    Ginger Paque says:

    Insular? Hmm, well, I don’t live on an island, but I do have a mountain spring running on one side of the house, and a small river on another two. The Henri Pittier National Park marks the fourth side of of our lot. As for thinking Maracay, Venezuela is the center of of the universe, Mary, I think rather that I live in my own little universe. How else could I have adapted over the years to one of the highest murder and misery rates in the world, or the fact that my husband’s partner, friends of mine, and now a neighbor have been kidnapped? Or that friends and neighbors have not only been held up at gunpoint, but actually murdered in the course of a robbery? This is not just a rather serious case of the ‘leans’, but the belief that the world around me has vertigo even though I’m the one who has been spinning in place.

    How does that happen? Well, an amazing paradise with tropical flowers, lying in bed listening to the birds, bees and beasts with the windows open and a year-round temperature of 23 degrees help. They say you can boil a frog if you raise the temperature slowly. I think you can also erode paradise a detail at a time, an added danger a day, and make it difficult to know when it is time to leave the jungle adventure and head home for a normal life.

    Not only is Obama not nearly as important to me as President Chavez, but what an American ex-pat wants from their president is very different from what someone actually living in the USA needs. From a zoomed out view, Obama looks great to me. How does Chavez look from there?

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