I was asked point-blank by a fellow hiker yesterday, a Dane, about our upcoming American elections. I make it a point to avoid such topics, and in saying that I don’t much pay attention, that it is all theater, raised the hackles on another hiker, this one a fellow American.
Half an hour later our American friend had completed his explanation of the American political system, the best democracy in the world, he said. He was a complete reflection of our media, our education system, a font of received wisdom. Even though a nice guy (a CPA even!), he was as clueless as one can be about the real workings of countries and power systems. He is merely as Americans are raised to be, I suppose. He could be a school teacher, even a good one! Our ignorance, after all, is not endemic, but rather has to be learned, taught and re-taught down through the ages. That’s why we have clueless teachers. They pay it forward.
The day before our hike leader, a Frenchman, was explaining how by some mysterious means the melting ice from French glaciers was going to release trapped radiation from Chernobyl. I asked, quite innocently, where our feet currently stood in relation to Chernobyl, and while he wasn’t sure of direction (nor was I), did say with some sarcasm that the cloud from that reactor had stopped at the French border.
So said the French government at the time. Our hike leader did not believe that, of course, and said that he did not trust the French government, as it is corrupt.
“Yours too?” I chimed in.
Last evening over dinner we delved a little bit into politics, and I mentioned that three presidents in my lifetime had changed their names as young men. No one was aware of this. (They are, in case you are curious, Lesley King, who became Gerald Ford, William Blythe III, who became Bill Clinton, and Barry Soetero (Barack Whatshisname). And. Yes, I know few people know that, but you could look it up in one of your trusted sources. I think even Wikipedia, the Intelligence bible, is forthright about that matter.
I was asked then what I thought about Obama’s citizenship, and laughed, saying none of us know where that character came from or what he was up to before holding office, or his parents, for that matter. But I said I didn’t care, as citizenship is the least of issues we should be concerned about in an office holder, that a true leader should have have character rather than merely be one.
And while Obama is a character, he has none, as far as I can see. It is the first requisite for holding office, to have sold your soul.
Thus did yours truly, American ambassador abroad, stand up for the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.