Thursday, October 16, 2008

10/16/08 Its Votin' Time!

My absentee voter's packet appeared in my mail slot today. Its nice to still be a small part of the democratic process despite the distance between myself and my homeland. Luckily the internets allow me to be just as informed as anyone when choosing a candidate.

Mmm, smells like liberty.

From talking with Tung I learned that the Australian government requires citizens to vote, with a fine imposed on those who don't. While it is nice for an important civic responsibility like voting to be encouraged, I think that requiring it isn't such a great idea. If a person doesn't have the time or interest to vote, they most likely don't have the time or interest necessary to develop an informed opinion on the character and politics of the candidates. I think its best if these people not be forced to make a decision.

One of my favorite campy movies, Starship Troopers, is set in a future where humanity is at war with an alien race. Its definitely low budget science fiction, but it is loosely based on a book with some interesting views on society(I've only seen summaries of this book, but I hope to actually read it one of these days). In this world, one becomes a citizen through military service rather than by birth or declaration. I wonder if this would be a good idea for the present day United States. Exclusively requiring military service for citizenship is a bit harsh, but there could be other opportunities such as the peace corp or other domestic alternatives. Would it be fair if citizenship was earned by one's actions rather than where one happened to be born, and voting would be a privilege earned only with service?

Occasionally I learn something about my own language from middle school English class. Yesterday was one of those days. My teacher informed me about a rule governing the pronunciation of questions. In English, when a yes or no question is asked, the intonation at the end of the sentence rises. When a more open ended question is asked, the intonation lowers at the end. For example, try saying the following sentences out loud: What is your favorite food? Is pizza your favorite food? Notice the difference in the way you say “food”. I did not know that.

There was a strange addition to my lunch today. "Peanut Honey" is written down there in the pink. Peanuts and sesame seeds are mixed in with a thick honeyish mixture. The kids just ate it right out of the package, so I followed suit. It was like eating peanut brittle before it hardens. A bit strange, and way too sweet for my liking.

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