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Dominica weekly is a personal weblog about the nature island of Dominica.


My wife, daughter and I (our entire family) voted for Barak Obama for President of the United States.

We’re still glad we did, but not because of any accomplishments – there have been no major ones – but because the alternative was really scary. It is important to understand that Obama never had a constituency: American always turn to the Democratic Party in hard economic times, people were sick of the war in Iraq, and yes, he captured bloc ethnic votes. Before you argue that point take a look at the returns from, say, North Carolina or Virginia.

But his presidency is doomed. He will serve one term, that’s all. Here are the reasons why:

  • Americans have no patience. They’re accustomed to solutions in half-hour or hour intervals, as on TV.
  • Americans have no historical perspective: Remember, the Great Depression began 90 years ago. I’m 68 and only heard about it from my parents. Even WWII was over before I turned 5.
  • A President’s powers are limited and most American’s would fail a civics test about them. And, Barak Obama does not walk on water.
  • As Commander-in-Chief he could accelerate withdrawal from Iraq. And the war in Afghanistan is futile and destructive both to the economy and his presidency.

It takes an “opposite” to make momentous changes in America. People forget that FDR was an avowed fiscal conservative when elected. That it took a war-hero general to win election by promising to end the Korean War – any Democrat trying that would have been labeled soft on communism. That the Republican who claimed that Truman and Democrats “lost China” and who won election in 1968 decrying Robert Kennedy’s promise to support admitting “Red” China into the UN – Richard Nixon – also won by claiming to have “a secret plan to end the war in Vietnam”. Nixon was able to open a dialog with the People’s Republic of China. Democrats wanted to do that but could never have survived the political fallout.

Has anyone noticed that it was a Republican governor who got a universal health care plan passed in Massachusetts? It will be a Republican President who gets US universal health care passed: For the wrong reasons, of course. It will pass because hospitals, doctors, and insurance companies are feeling the pain, not because the people need it.

I still support Obama, except for Afghanistan and his political gifts to homosexuals. I’d like him to win a 2nd term and to get a health care plan, a good one, though, and turn this wretched economy around. But I believe I’ll be disappointed.

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buffalo soldier bugler

Photo credit:Buffalosoldiers.com

It was quite a fulfilling past time to familiarize myself with the colourful flags of our World Nations from my childhood encyclopedias in my tender years. I felt more conscious of my place in the diverse global community, and of course more knowledgeable, having learnt of the national symbols of pride, honour and prestige of various countries.

Today, many would agree, at least to a certain extent, that flags might as well be treated as obsolete. Invariably they seem to be taken for granted while our political leaders have implanted their eternally smiling faces in the minds of numerous societies, far and wide, as the alternative national symbols. It’s quite ironic that these leaders would dare to compel us to view them as symbols of unity while many of them use divisive strategies to rule their own people.

When you think of Venezuela, you think of Hugo Chavez. When you remember Cuba, you remember the revolutionary Fidel Castro. Certainly, thoughts of a country such as Zimbabwe would be dominated by bitter thoughts of Mr. Robert Mugabe.

Today, the United States of America can seldom be spoken of without instant talk of George W. Bush and his bloody war in Iraq, the divine Barack Obama and his miraculous campaign for change and maybe even the old white-haired John McCain.

Think ‘France’- and you may think delightful thoughts of savoury French cheeses, croissants and croque-monsieurs at a country cottage in the gilded shadows of a grape vineyard. But they’re likely to come after you remember the famous Jacques Chirac, Mr. Popularity Nicolas Sarkozy and even the legendary Napoleon.

Our world is faced with a dilemma in which inclinations to patriotism or love for country and countrymen are marred by the seemingly pressing need for unconditional devotion to one’s leader. Hence Americans blindly supported Bush’s war on the innocent in the name of ‘national security’. Anyone who disagreed 3 years ago was judged a disloyal, treacherous bonehead.

From the days of the Buffalo Soldier, conscription in the U.S. military has been perceived as the epitome of patriotism- even if it means fighting a meaningless war driven by an insatiable lust for oil. But luckily, many Americans now know better. The bitter tales of men who fought in terrible wars for their country, and returned with one leg to find that they had lost their jobs or that the bank had seized their house have hit home.

For us in the Nature Isle, many lament that we’re not as patriotic as we should be. And I’m honestly not sure how many Dominicans would be willing to fight with guns and missiles in any war to defend this nation. Maybe that’s not altogether a bad thing- after all, war is never the answer. And I’m unsure as to whether or not the bloodshed and destruction would even be worth it.

I feel that patriotism should be mainly about love for one’s culture and history, and not merely unconditional support for the deeds of one’s nation. But I really don’t feel that it’s as important as many try to make it seem. Its very definition has too often been distorted to suit perverse political agendas. How can one proclaim and profess unconditional support for his country when his leaders have destroyed the homes of millions of innocent women and children in foreign lands?

Furthermore, we must not forget that all over the world, many continue to dedicate their lives to their country with countless years of committed service, sacrificing opportunities for opulence elsewhere. When they become senior citizens their pensions barely reflect the value of the work that they have done for all those years.

I do love my country, but I really don’t feel like patriotism is altogether a good thing. Like almost everything else in this world, it isn’t flawless- and it often leads to fatal consequences.

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cartoon depicting the drama which goes on in Dominica house of assembly

Editor’s note:This is a guest post from Danielle Edwards – a Literature and History student and an aspiring Journalist.

In another one of her dramatic attempts to instill order in the House of Assembly, our Speaker of the House mistook the evil umbrella of an unsuspecting journalist for a microphone. She subsequently had him escorted out of the House by a law enforcement officer-turned-modern day Joan of Arc. What a menacing umbrella that must have been, for the Speaker is notorious for her fearlessness! I dare say it must be taken to court for obstructing parliament.

I am even more struck by its bewitching paranormal qualities, at how magnificently it was able to disguise itself as a microphone on a RAINY DAY! I think that the most rational explanation to this is that this journalist is a warlock who was unable to conceal his mystical powers! Wouldn’t you agree that the House of Parliament needs a fine dose of Holy Water?

More importantly, I am deeply concerned about the probable repercussions that this glaringly petty incident and other similar ones which preceded it may have on the future of Women and Power in Dominica, and even the rest of the Caribbean.

It’s no secret that too many of our highly educated female leaders have sullied the track record of ‘the weaker sex’ in political, social and international affairs. I personally feel that it was ultimately inevitable that the 2008 Democratic nominee in U.S.A. would have been a Black man instead of a White woman. Why should anyone be surprised that a in a society where, just 53 years ago a black woman who refused to shift to the back of the bus to give a white passenger her seat was arrested- a Black man may soon be elected to the White House. It appears that most Americans feel Mrs. Hillary Clinton does not fit the profile of Commander-in-Chief to the World’s strongest army. Do I smell male chauvinism?

If so, it is not unwarranted. Even an intelligent Oxford graduate like Indira Gandhi is guilty of stifling democracy in India in her selfish lust for power. She has been hated by many for destroying the Indian economy while exercising blatant corruption and nepotism, while conveniently censoring the press. Great Britain has also had its fair share of womanly leadership- the dealings of the administration of Baroness Thatcher with the late Saddam Hussein are well known.

My point is that women in positions of authority ought to practice twice the amount of discretion as men in similar positions. This must be a subconscious duty, not merely to eliminate the stigma against female leaders, but to also build a fortress of patronage for their heiresses. If they continue not to, more of our male counterparts will continue to feel ‘woman doesn’t know her place’ and ‘woman too damn up’. And less of our Women will be able to progress and break gender barriers. I certainly feel that if the Speaker of the House had been a Man- whether red, blue or green, this ridiculous incident, and many others before it, would not have occurred.

Every Dominican is aware that our women have a reputation for being cantankerous lovers of ‘roe-roe’ and drama. If you are not, be sure to look at the next local Carnival Queen Show- or any other local pageant for that matter. Is the Speaker of the House not simply reinforcing this stupid stereotype with her preposterous and absurd behaviour?

I think she needs to ‘step up her game’.

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