Sunday, May 13, 2007

Election '08: Preliminary bet on Obama

I've done it. While this is not meant to be an overtly political blog, I find it worth sharing that I have given my first political contribution to Senator Barak Obama. I admit that I have not studied all issues to my heart's content, but I am excited by Obama's approach and maintain a slim hope that a US election with Obama on the ticket would move us a few steps away from poisonous politics and, as The Economist sums up well, flirtation with monarchy:
The dynastification of American political life is weakening America's claim to be a democratic beacon. These days political dynasties are usually associated with the young democracies of South Asia rather than mature republics. The dynastification of its political life also points to a deeper problem: the fact that America is producing a quasi-hereditary political elite, cocooned in a world of wealth and privilege and utterly divorced from most people's lives.
The tipping point (to donate) for me was the New Yorker article I read last night. Just having someone who reflects would be a hugely needed breathe of fresh air for US and global politics.

I gave my donation with reservations. I will always listen to my intellectual hero, Cornel West, who expressed some reservations about Obama's campaign announcement. I also find the myspace situation concerning, but not enough to keep me from expressing my hope for a deeper, self-reflective engagement in politics, which is what the Obama '08 campaign represents to this American living in London.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Peace Corps Blogs

Peace Corps Blogs - and what seemed to be a lack of them - have been an interest of mine for some time. I think one of the coolest elements of Peace Corps is what it allows Americans to learn by deeply - sometimes too deeply - integrating into another culture. Often these are very less-traveled cultures so I was pleased to see some Returned Peace Corps Volunteers have set up a site with Peace Corps blogs. Back in the day, when I did Peace Corps (Western Russia 1996-98), we had World Wise Schools, but I could never get the the buzz going with Russian students through snail mail. Blogs are World Wise Schools on drugs. There is also a podcast called Volunteer Voices. I will be going to Mongolia soon and will be busy exploring the blog impressions of Americans in the steppe.

If you look at any of these, I would love to know what you think of them.