Tongablog

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My Political Self…

Friends have often described me in one word — political.  The description is an accurate one, but I must say that during an election cycle, I am more aptly described as “intensely, passionately political.”  It runs in my blood.  I just received a letter from my 87 year-old grandmother.  She is a life-long Democrat, and wrote that “98% of her time now is spent on following the current U.S. Presidential election.”  My mother (who volunteered for her first campaign at the age of eight) keeps me abreast by sending me all the latest “you tube” clips via email.  My Aunt worked on the ground in Ohio in the 2004 election, and will be heading off to the DNC shortly.  And here I am, sequestered on a Pacific island, during what I perceive as an absolutely crucial Presidential election.  I fantasize about the convention I would have attended, the weekends I would have spent registering voters, and the salary that would have allowed me to make something more than paltry campaign donations.

My time here in Tonga has not been entirely apolitical.  As an American living in the States, I had often heard about our tarnished reputation abroad.  Tonga is in fact a tourist destination for Australians, New Zealanders, and Europeans.  During my the past ten months here, I’ve had many conversations with these travelers.  Within a second of finding out I am an American, the conversation always turns political.  Their responses to my American citizenship are always quite similiar.  To put it bluntly, they are horrified by the actions of the US government over the past eight years.  Our need for diplomacy with our former allies cannot be underestimated.

I must admit, I’ve become more patriotic since living in Tonga.  I miss my country.  I miss being in a nation that values religious pluralism and I miss being in a nation that embraces diversity.  I am proud to be from a country that values free speech, electoral democracy, and the rights of women.  Yet I feel at this time in history, so much of what I love about my country is in jeopardy.  As I’m sure you have realized by now, I am 100% supporting Obama in this election.  I truly hope voters take the time to learn more about what is truly at stake in this election.  In terms of women’s rights, here is some information of McCain’s previous voting record (available from NARAL).

*He voted to terminate the Title X family planning program, which provides millions of women with health‐care services

ranging from birth control to breast cancer
screenings.

*He voted against funding teen‐pregnancy‐prevention programs and ensuring that “abstinence‐only” programs are medically accurate.

* He voted to de‐fund the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), an organization

that provides family‐planning services – not abortion – for the

world’s poorest  women.

As you can gather, all of these votes infuriate me. All I can say about this one is that John McCain has obviously not spent any time in a nation like Haiti, where denial of family-planning services reinforces crippling poverty, and incredibly high rates of infant mortality, maternal mortality, and children under the age of 5 dying from malnutrition.

*He also voted to take $75 million

from the Maternal and Child Health Block Grant to
establish a new “abstinence‐only” program

that censors information about birth
control.

He has obviously not visited any schools/homes for unwed mothers, like Florence Crittenton in SC.  I worked as a teacher there.  My youngest mothers were twelve.  I also had students that had given birth to children, as a result of rape and incest by their own paternal fathers.  McCain voted to prohibit federal  Medicaid funds for abortion services in any case, including rape and incest.

He obviously was unaware of their trauma and their emotional scarring that will never go away.

The realities of McCain’s voting records are apparent.  I just hope that voters take the time to really research this candidate, and that they also take the time to educate themselves on Obama.  Obama’s leadership during his time in the Senate on women’s rights and poverty has been impeccable.  I would be proud to be a part of his vision for America, and ecstatic for his leadership in a nation I eagerly anticipate being my home again:)



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1 Comment»

  Gorka Sancho wrote @

FScot,

Just watching Michelle Obama’s statement at the Democratic Convention, and they are good! You will get an “interesting” view of the elections, and without the bombardment of information that we are receiving, you will be able to stand back and analyze what is going on better!
I was in Spain during 9/11, and while I wanted to be in the States, seeing all the changes and responses from abroad were quite enlightening!
Have fun, be sure to go snorkeling for me!
Cheers,
Gorka


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