December 13, 2009

Pogo-Sticks and Politics

Living in a foreign country has definitely opened my eyes to the world around me. I never realized how comfortable I was with traditions and "the way of life". Not that I had a routine life by any means, I was always on the go and doing something new. With that though, I took for granted some of the great things that America has to offer. I tried to appreciate the beauty that Oklahoma and surrounding states have to offer, but I find myself lacking the ability to embrace the true vast beauty that they posses.

Its funny, I never really thought about patriotism and politics as a conscious thought. I know that sounds weird, but I just kept up with politics, certain politics, not all. With that, patriotism is bound deep in me. Part of that is coming from America, from Bible belt USA. I would have never thought twice about it. Even having a Canadian roommate and close friend for 3 years I never realized how engrained patriotism is for me, for the American culture. Im going to hark on Andrea for a little bit, the Canadian friend, I always found it odd in chapel when she refused to say the pledge, even though she is half American. I blew it off though, whatever, shes Canadian, she doesn’t have to if she doesn’t want to. Id rather someone say it with meaning than just repeat the words and have no meaning behind them (which I believe frequently happens).

We had Alex and his family over for coffee and supper tonight. Considering today is an advent Sunday, that is pretty special here because advent Sundays are reserved for family time. After supper, while playing cards, the conversation got into American politics and some screw ups that have happened abroad.

I find it amazing how much other cultures watch American politics. I try my best to keep up on recent events, I read multiple papers daily, but don’t always catch everything going on. To avoid pointing fingers at people I will keep the details vague, but conversation came up of a musician that said something very political while abroad. Alex's mom could not understand why the musician was then shunned in the US and went on the defensive. She thought it should have been more of an "ah-ha" moment. It took me back. Not so much the statement that was made by the musician, but I had never even thought about what was said as valid, whether it was true or not, because it came from a musician. It wasn’t so much the statement that was made, it was the fact it was done in a public setting and on foreign soil that caused an uproar. This was a weird concept that Alex's mom did not understand. Why people were so upset about it. I never really thought of it the other way.

Patriotism is so engrained, while I may not agree with everything that is done, out of a mutual respect, one does not voice it in a way to influence others. If your going to talk about something in an attempt in influence their opionons, make it more important than politics!

I bet your wondering what the Pogo stick part is about... it comes as second nature. One sees a pogo stick and knows what to do with it and how to do it. Doesn’t matter if you fall off, it is if you get on. I think that is the way most people look at politics. They see them, they know what they do, they know how they work, but they never actually try it out. To fully understand, one must try the pogo stick! It is not as easy to stay on as one might think! With that, politics are not as simple as most seem to think they are, especially abroad. It seems like there is this "black and white" view that I have encountered on multiple occasions, and while people know some facts and have the idea, they have no actually concept of how the political system works, much like a pogo-stick.

Be good and do good!

Sarah B

Quote: When you drink water, remember its spring. ~Chinese Proverb

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