posted on Sep, 9 2008 @ 01:16 PM
My apologies if this has been covered. I suspect it probably has in a roundabout kind of way but I would like to hear some specific opinion on
whether or not people think Americans are the only group of people who truly believe that they have an element of choice or guiding force in
determining how their country is run?
This could apply to any nation, but at the risk of getting too vague and given the current circumstances, we'll stick to the US...
What brought this to my mind was a discussion I had with some folks in Sweden a few weeks ago. I was on a work trip and was staying in some rented
accommodation. The other people in the building were over to take part in some course or other - an international diploma of some sort. They were
all from different countries. Two from the US, one Israeli, one Peruvian, one Turkish, one Australian, two Belgian, one Dutch, three from African
nations, a Canadian, one from Singapore and me, a Brit. Importantly, they were all there for the same reason, with the same qualifications, similarly
privileged upbringing and, presumably, broadly similar outlooks on life. To me, they were about as good as a representative multinational sample
group could get!
What got me thinking was when a news bite came on the TV about the US election (the only thing in English!!) a discussion between the two Americans
quickly turned into quite a heated debate about who's candidate was the 'best' and resulted in each one accusing the other of "dissing their
guy". While this was going on, I asked if they really, honestly thought it would make the slightest difference to how the country is run at a
fundamental level and the Australian and myself initially thought they were joking when they said "of course"...
That got a load of the other people involved in the discussion and my impression was that the two Americans were the only people in the room of
fifteen people that thought they could truly make a difference to how their country is run (through the basic democratic process). There were a few
(not many) in the room who believed their vote made a difference in their own country, but couldn't see how the selection process for US president
could possibly allow people to choose the best man for the job.
So, are Americans the only people in the world who believe that they choose their leader, and that their choice between two candidates really is a
choice? And that, whatever the choice, the leader can/will change the way the nation functions at anything other than a superficial level?
On the basis of my experience, I'd have to say I think they probably are, and I'd take it a bit further. Why were the two US students (all students
were between the ages of 21 to 30 I'd say) the only ones who had never even considered this question when perhaps it applies most obviously to the
Sorry for the long post, but I thought it was an interesting question....
P.S. Incidentally, one of the US students was the only one to ask me, in all seriousness, if the LHC at CERN was going to bring about the end of the
world when she found out I was a scientist... I'm saying nothing.... :-)
[edit on 9-9-2008 by Dr. N]