Wednesday, June 18, 2008

6/23/08 American Politics in Japan

I read an interesting article on CNN, titled Poll: World has more confidence in Obama: Either major candidate seen as improving global relations. It comments on a Pew Research Center poll questioning two dozen countries on subjects including on the US vs. world economy, Iraq/Afghanistan issues, and the US presidential hopefuls. One line in particular really stood out.

"Substantial numbers in most countries said they are closely following the U.S. presidential election, including 83 percent in Japan — about the same proportion who said so in the U.S." I can personally attest to this: Hillary and Obama are household names in Ashikaga, with every twist in the Democratic primaries being meticulously noted in the local papers.

An article on the front page of the June 5th edition of the Sankei Shimbun. The headlines read: Obama something something first black person something something from now on. The graph details the delegate counts.

Even my kids like to talk about them, although the conversation is usually pretty shallow for obvious reasons (in my early days I recall trying to explain the primary election process to a class and it will live on in the bad idea hall of fame). "Which one do you like Hillary or Obama?" is a small talk question that came up often in the heat of the primary contest. I usually replied that I preferred Obama because he was from Illinois. It seemed like a simple and logical enough answer for me to give them. My mom taught me not to talk politics with anyone but those that you trust, and sometimes not even with them. I thought this a safe exception to my rule.

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