Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Color of Colombia

As I watched the Yahoo! interactive map of the United States change colors from grey to either blue or red from the comfort of my apartment thousands of miles away from the election action, I couldn't help but think about how the rest of the world would be colored if it was voting too.

Judging from the headlines and media reports from places like Indonesia, Japan, most of Europe, and all of Africa, Obama seems to be a fan favorite. Our neighbor here, Venezuela, is clearly not a Bush supporter. The same can be said for allies of Venezuela's president, Chavez, such as Bolivia and our other neighbor, Ecuador. They are all definitely blue; an Obama victory would surely please them.

As for Colombia, I'll let my students comments answer the question of who it was pulling for. I can't tell you the number of times I heard, "But Obama hates Colombia!" Yep, Colombia is red. I'm sure the fact that the Bush administration and the Republican party have been very generous to Colombia's military, war on drugs, and opening up the trade agreements, plays the most important factor in peoples' Ameri-political view points.

I tried to explain to my students that Obama, first of all, does not "hate" Colombia and that his first order of business after taking office in late January will not be cutting ties with their country; he has a few other substantial things on his plate to digest first. Secondly, a brief lesson on checks and balances in the American governmental branches was calming to some of them.

One girl put it best: "[President Alvaro] Uribe is a nice guy and people like him. I bet he'll call Obama up and they'll make friends."

Aside from the occasional asinine comments about "I'm never moving back to the United States in McCain gets elected" from some co-workers, I rather enjoyed experiencing the race from abroad. It gave it a whole different perspective. Plus, I didn't have to see or hear any political ads! I might just have to make living abroad an every-four-years event just for that!


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