So here we are. 2 days before the biggest (not even a SLIGHT exaggeration) election of certainly my life and probably my parents and grandparents as well. Yesterday, Ira and I attended a conference on the U.S. Elections. The most enlightened observations came from Nabil Fahmy, Egypt's ambassador to the United States. He knows both candidates personally and has spoken to both of them about their foreign policy ideas and agendas. Here are some of the things that really stuck with me from the day:
*The "Age of Regan" (1981-2008) is over. This is a watershed/Realignment election. There will be major change.
*94 Million voted in 1996, 120 Million in 2000, 124 Million in 2004, this year 130 Million people are expected to vote. 13.5% of those voters are African American who will turn out at the level of between 95-98%, not other category of voter will turn out at that level. Research has shown that people vote 50% on the issues and 50% on the temperament of the candidate.
*Republicans were in power long enough to see the financial crisis coming. The "October Surprise" came a month early and the incumbent party is going to suffer.
*America is the only country that has a leader that "comes from somewhere else". There really aren't any other countries who have leaders that are not native to the country they lead. McCain and Obama may have been born in American territory, but their ancestors came from somewhere else.
*America will always have an interest in Egypt because 1/4 of the Mid-East population lives here.
*America is not a "Super Power" but a Global Power. Foreign policy must be presented to Americans as an American interest, as something that will better America, not as a War on Terror.
*"The War on Terror" is like the "War on Drugs" or the "War on Crime", it's not something that anyone can win.
*Obama's experience abroad is with his family and as a school boy. McCain's experience is as a soldier, fighting an enemy.Therefore, McCain bases his foreign policy on fighting an enemy (Vietnam, Cold War/Russia) he will always look for someone to fight. His vision of the future is to work together to fight a threat. Obama is more inclusive of both friends and adversaries. He doesn't have the Cold War mentality. McCain will always look to the past. Because Obama doesn't have that baggage, he will always look to the future.
So now we have to wait. I've already voted so the fun is over for me. However, after careful considerations of time zones and voting returns, I've decided that staying up all night is the only option for a news junkie like myself. I'm too afraid I'm going to miss something. Ira is undecided. He might stay up, but he might get up really early, we'll see. Some of our friends might even come over in their jammies! I'll be wearing blue.