So, I revived this blog as a way to chronicle my travels, and a way for my friends and family at home to keep track of where I am. However, today, I will take a little bit of a detour and talk about one of my other passions - politics. People are always surprised that I'm interested in politics, but I find it not surprising in the least. As a woman, I should be interested in preserving women's rights. As a physician, I should be involved in ensuring quality, affordable, and accessible healthcare to all people. As an immigrant, I should advocate for the rights of all new Americans. As a citizen, I should be aware of the political landscape and cast my vote. In short, I think I have plenty of reasons to be interested in politics, none of them surprising.
Watching the coverage of the Presidential race from another country is weird. It also happened last time I was in Vietnam (in 2004, I recall watching a debate at the New World Hotel with a bunch of American expats). I am a registered Democrat and have always voted for a Democrat, so it is no secret that I wish for a Democrat to win the Presidential election (I also hope that Democrats gain a bigger margin in the House and Senate). However, I see this possibility threatened by the bitter fight for the Democratic nomination. Of course, I cast my vote (absentee, on the day before I flew out to Vietnam) and I have my preference for who will be the Democratic nominee. However, I would be happy with either Senator Clinton or Senator Obama - just as long as they can beat Senator McCain. That's all I, and many others, hope for - a change.
Change seems to be the word for both campaigns. Who can provide better leadership to make changes to the status quo. However, I'm skeptical as to how much change can actually happen (other than a change in administration). We need dramatic change on healthcare - yet I doubt we will actually achieve it, regardless of who is in power. We need equally dramatic changes in education, immigration, the environment, foreign policy, and countlesss other issues. I'm skeptical that a new president can really change things as much as they promise in their campaign speeches - but regardless of my skepticism, I am hopeful.
It's also interesting to see what Vietnamese think of American politics, which can be summed up in, "I am glad Bush is out." All in all, I am impressed with what people, both Vietnamese and otherwise, here know about American politics. I have to say that I live up to the "stupid American" stereotype when it comes to politics in other countries (ask me to name the leader of Vietnam or presidential candidates in any other country and I am at a loss).
So, those are my two cents, and more. What do you think? (and thanks to everyone for their comments... bring them on!)