Well, in Hong Kong no one cares about voting at all. They don’t really have anything to vote for anyhow. The local government lets the people vote for Legislative Council members, but they are really a rather inept group of lackeys who don’t do much because, well, because it doesn’t make any difference. Hong Kong is considered a Special Administrative Region of China. That means they have more autonomy than places like Tibet, wich Beijing calls (ironically) the “Tibet Autonomous Region” but less than places like Taiwan, which Beijing calls Taiwan Province of the People’s Republic of China (but Taiwan routinely tells them to fuck off, so it is sort of a tenuous relationship, which China leaves alone because they have not yet formulated a reason to invade and Taiwan ignores while they prepare to be invaded.)
Basically, Hong Kong is one of Beijing’s most lucrative cash cows and so they leave it to it’s own devices. As long as they are making money I imagine. Who knows what would happen if Hong Kong people actually got all crazy and started wanting to be politically active, it could be a crisis at the Louis Vuitton.
And it is all about Beijing. If Beijing likes you (HK and Macau) you are in good shape. If they are annoyed by you (Taiwan) you need to keep your eyes open. And if they straight don’t like you (Tibet) you better find a new country. China is all about the Beijing. They have only one official time zone for goodness sake – “Beijing Time”! Can you imagine the US operating on “Washington Time”? Weird.
My point is, that the HK SAR government is this group of sort of cute little people who are polite and very good at making nice and except for two or three of them no one even knows who they are. And so who votes for them is a mystery to me and most of the Hong Kong people I know well enough to talk politics with (and these people will talk your ear off about US politics – so it is not that they arenot politically aware, there just is not a lot to be aware of in HK.) So Hong Kong voters are a group of people without a focus.
Enter USA ELECTION 2008.
I had a student tell me last year that “American politics are so cool! It’s like, everyone has a team, and you get to compete against the other guy, and it’s just so cool!” (I may have paraphrased a but there, but you get the idea.) But she was right… she just forgot to mention the strategy (win at all costs), the sacrafices ($$ and moral fiber), the compromises (of anything important to make yourself palatable for mass consumption.) But still, there is no better time for really learning about America and figuring out where people’s consciousness lies than during a presidential run.
I have been looking at all sorts of information about the US candidates online as I no longer have access to TV news. It is an amazing assortment of “information.” I also always follow what people I know are saying as it helps me sometimes get a perspective I had not considered. I will say this, when Barack Obama gave his keynote address at the 2004 convention I nearly wept. I was ready for someone to come in a be emotional and exciting and hopeful. And I said, “I bet this guy runs for president someday.” But, I was living in Reno in the middle of the Bush regime. SpongeBob Squarepants might ave had the same effect as long as he didn’t say ‘yall’ and ‘nookyaler.’ No, that’s not fair, Obama was better than that… he was really good. But what has he had to do to get serious presidential consideration? I think a little of the strategy, sacrafice and compromise I mentioned above. And that is a shame.
I took another one of those candidate match surveys (here, thanks John B.) [another here] and, not surprisingly, I matched best with Dennis Kucinich, a candidate who does not have a chance (sorry John) because he has not done enough strategizing, sacraficing and compromising. But this was a decent survey because it actually let you see how each candidate – current and former – responded to each issue.
THIS IS VERY HELPFUL AND VERY IMPORTANT.
The choices are not always great (in life or in the survey) but the best we can do is be informed because we do get to vote and, at least for the moment, we are not controlled by Beijing (we will reassess that in a few years I am sure.) The fact of the matter is, all these Pink Elephants and Stubborn Jackasses are going to be supporting the one from their party who gets the official nod at the conventions and then all the sniping will seem, I don’t know, hypocritical? We are going to be narrowed down to a realistic choice of two people who will be more alike than they are different, which is not great, but shit…. at least both of them will not be BUSH.
Who has the line on this thing in Vegas anyhow?