I just returned from 3 1/2 of the most intellectually stimulating, cathartic, invigorating, and best-spent hours I have passed in a long time. I attended one of the "An Evening With..." dinners at the Vista House. Tonight's guest was Methodist bishop Peter Storey, a man from South Africa who was the prison chaplain at Robben Island when Mandela was there, among other accomplishments. Through good food and dialog, I feel as if he and I are old friends, and I really respect a lot of his points of view. Hearing the conversation that happens between my peers and everyone in the Vista House community never fails to renew my faith in humanity.
1. Our voting affects the world. Really. It's not just about who your next magistrate is going to be, or even who the next governor is going to be. As a citizen of one of the undeniably most powerful countries in the world, the people I choose to represent me, to make decisions for me, and to make decisions for my country and my government make those decisions on behalf of the entire country - i.e. foreign policy is global. Which brings me to two more points: firstly, that everyone should, as I mentioned yesterday, respect their right to vote a lot more. Storey's example tonight involved his multiracial former congregation during Apartheid, when Whites could vote and Blacks couldn't. He urged the white members of his congregation to vote not only for themselves but for the sake of and on behalf of everyone else who didn't have that voice. Which, by the way, is my main reason for writing (Thanks, Betty Bayé!) Anyway...secondly, Storey's oft-used quote is that we can be first-world citizens, or we can be the first world citizens. (How's that for linguistics?) That sure ties in nicely with Furman's current Year of Global Citizenship initiative! But seriously, I think the whole "Think globally, act locally" slogan has a lot of merit.
2. Some politicians are truly absurd. I am so sick of all the smear campaigns and hateful language, and I am terrified that the winner is all too often the one with the biggest mouth, NOT the one with the most wisdom or most open heart.
3. "It must be amazing to live in a country where the only thing you can get excited about is saving the whales!"
4. We go to war, and the war comes to other countries. It can be as simple as that. And each and every one of us is totally responsible, because we put into the office the man who declares those wars.