a wandering woman writes

Sunday, October 15, 2006

It's an idea....

I don't talk politics much.

Still, every now and then, people ask me.

Every now and then some unassuming Salmantino just can't help himself and, finding me open, positive and friendly, feels compelled to go there.

You know, there. Bush.

The day I negotiated my rent with my landlady, we lingered a while over coffee. Pilar, who has never asked me about Bush, could control her curiosity no longer. "But what I don't understand, Erin, is the Americans, the people. They voted for him? Twice?"

Back before we had "voted for him, twice", I flew to Spain over the Thanksgiving holiday to interview for the job that brought me to Salamanca. I arranged a lunch with a friend who's a successful business executive in Madrid for the day before the interview. I'd hoped he'd prepare me well for my first interview in another language and culture. Instead I spent half an hour solemnly swearing on my lamb kebab that I would always vote in the US presidential elections - even if I moved to Spain.

Not long ago I had a Bush conversation that still intrigues me.

A good friend brought up Bush. She asked if he really had 2 years left to his term and I confirmed that he did. When I commented, as I often do, that we do not have a system for calling early elections in the US or the possibility of a no-confidence vote (not that Bush would lose one, frightening as that is to me) she showed me again how much better the Spanish know our history than your average American knows theirs.

"There's no way for us to make that change until his term is up", I assured her.

"Sure there's a way. Nixon resigned, didn't he?"

"Well, yeh", I started, "but that was...."

"So there's a way. All you have to do is make him so miserable he resigns."

"But tut ttt nngng..."

She interrupted my stutter with a firm wave of her finger.

"Don't tell me there's no way to bring a change. A President has resigned. Get him to quit."

Anybody got any ideas?



  • Okay, this might be hairsplitting, but we voted for him ONCE. He stole it the first time. I like to correct people on that matter, even though it makes me obnoxious and pedantic.

    By Blogger Pam, at 7:14 AM  

  • I vote for changing the world ... and I love your Spanish friend's reply.

    By Blogger woman wandering, at 12:11 PM  

  • I wish. I wish I had ideas. I wish. Problem is, bottom line is...they cheat, so they win.

    I'm IN the US right now, visiting family and preparing roles for winter jobs, and I simply cannot believe the atmosphere of FEAR here. Everything - the announcements in the airports, the news, the billboards, for heaven's sake - is calculated to make you be afraid, be VERY afraid.

    Well, hell, I am afraid. I'm afraid that it only took six years to wreck my country.

    I'm afraid it won't ever look the way it did before.

    I'll vote in November, by absentee ballot (in spite of my sick feeling that my vote will simply vanish into the ether and not be counted), and then I'm getting the hell back to Spain.



    By Anonymous Kathleen, at 9:35 AM  

  • Hey Pam, no, I almost commented on the questionable nature of the first win, hehe, no hair splitting,not a sign of obnoxious and pedantic...but I decided to go on without it. Even IF we voted twice....Even IF....I'm looking for idea....

    Kathleen, didn't know you were back there right now. You missed a scare-the-hell-out-of-them Warden's message from the Embassy in Madrid this week....

    It's weird I vacillate between that panic you mention--dear God, we are not the country we say we are....(Bush signed Habeus Corpus out the justicial process for foreigners today---no right always within a US court to see the evidence against you, a cornerstone of our values and our judicial system....) anyway, I think people in the States sometimes infer I've gotten awfully politically minded, or pessimistic or something.....but people BEG me to do something or at least explain what the hell the US is thinking....people who respect and believe in the values we say are ours---and use to live to.

    And I'm speechless. Because I can't find my country, either.

    Aaargh. I don't want to sit here and watch the mother ship sink.

    I do believe my vote counts, I have to, so that's where I started.

    By Blogger wandering-woman, at 3:59 PM  

  • Okay, I am with all you on these fronts. Spending time in the summer I also felt the "fear" thing, everywhere and once people hear that I live in the Middle East as a US citizen, they automatically freak out because "it's so dangerous there". Is it? Then why don't I feel the same level of fear from the population here?

    And now it seems that legally the US does not have to obey human rights as Bush just signed into law the right for the CIA to have secret prisons where they can do what they want with the prisioners all in the name of fighting the terrorist. And the majority of the population supports it? Doesn't that just put us in the same category as any terrorist group?! And how does that affect those of us who live and work overseas. I don't get it.

    Voting, yes, it may be a small thing, but I too think it may may a difference.

    By Anonymous Donnette, at 7:20 PM  

  • Yep, with you, Donnette. Talked with a woman yesterday from Northern Cal who said for years she's brought over exchange students -- and now they'd have to pay $5000 per year (to go to a public school, wherease the school district use to consider it a valuable cultural exchange for the students in her small town)and the visa hurdles are virtually impossible to pass. I get the feeling the idea is WE don't need to leave and come here, and the States won't let anybody in, and we'll all just hunker down there, one big giant walled bunker.

    I tell myself the people in the US have no idea what's going on. (secret prisons? CIA flights? I've had 2 houseguests arrive this summer knowing nothing of either until they caught the BBC news here.) I truly don't think they know Bush signed that bill, or what it said, or that we can now prosecute a foreigner without showing him the evidence against him.

    I think this election will tell us alot....

    By Blogger wandering-woman, at 9:05 PM  

  • I would agree with Pam that the first election was clearly stolen.

    Katherine Harris, Florida Secretary of State, the woman in charge of the re-count in Florida worked as a Bush campaigner, and did not have the ethical or moral courage to recuse herself from affecting the outcome of the election in 2000. The 2004 is also questionable, when the two states that were responsible for giving Bush the win were Ohio and Florida. In Ohio, the CEO of Diebold, promised to deliver the votes of Ohio to Bush, and the electronic voting machines by his company have been proven to be easily tampered with and have no verifiable paper audit trail. In Florida, again the state had questionable election policies that prevented many minorities from exercising their rights to vote.

    By Anonymous AdriftAtSea, at 4:17 PM  

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