Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Reality Impacting

Goodness. Hard to believe I've been home for a week. I keep having things I want to blog about, but I've been trying to catch up with all the blog entries I wrote while traveling without network access. I am now caught up on that.

And of course, there's been lots of work to catch up on, and our Granny Nanny is out of town, so we have to actually pretend we're real parents, too. Man, life is so unfair! But it's actually nice spending the extra time with our daughter, since we missed her so much while we were away.

As I predicted, I am not loving the fact that I'm back just in time for the last throes of the presidential election. One thing I should mention is some of the comments we got about the election from people in Indonesia.

First, just the fact that lots of people in Indonesia wanted to talk about it was interesting. They know a lot about the candidates, and not just because Barack Obama spent some of his formative years in Indonesia. To a person, they made it clear that they cared about our election because it matters to them. That's an amazing fact. Most Americans couldn't name the president of Indonesia, and frankly, it doesn't matter to most of us. But our president, our national policies, matter to them--a lot.

Second, there was a very strong perception among them that Obama will win. Some already refer to him as President Obama. There are two reasons for that: out of self-interest, they can't imagine that we would elect yet another disastrous president, but also because nearly every American they meet agrees with them.

One ex-pat put it this way: "Republicans don't travel." I corrected him, because they do travel, but I'm guessing not very many of them travel to Indonesia. Travel is so broadening, and challenges so many of our notions about ourselves, that it's hard to imagine someone visiting Indonesia, talking to Indonesians, and believing that the last eight years have been good for the world and that four or eight more years of similar policies would be a good idea.

So the Indonesians we met almost unanimously support Obama. A farmer we met in the hills of Bali was wearing an Obama campaign button pinned to his jeans. He was very proud, very interested, and very pleased to know that we were supporting Obama, too.

The world is watching, and they care very much what we do. Like the U.S., Indonesia is a country born of colonialism, and Indonesians look at our country in many ways as a model for what theirs can become. It seems clear to them who would be better for them as our president. Apparently the choice is not as clear to many Americans.

Interesting times.

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