A Reading Day

Today is January 20. Inauguration Day. I’ve watched the Swearing in Ceremony because I recognize that so many people around the world don’t know what this feels like. They don’t know what it’s like to elect their leaders or to witness a peaceful transfer of power between individuals.

But I won’t spend the day glued to the TV watching all of the festivities. I think my time would be better spent reading. So that’s what I’ll do.

Starting in 2020 I plan on visiting DC during every Inauguration for the rest of my life. My hope is to witness a Latino sworn in as President. That may or may not happen, but I’m confident this country will always continue moving forward. Even if it may not always appear so. 🇺🇸

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9 thoughts on “A Reading Day

  1. Wouldn’t that be amazing – a Latino as President. Or indeed a woman. We have had two women Prime Ministers here in the UK now, though I’m not inclined to think they do all they much to forward gender equality. But a non-white Prime Minister – now that would be a real move forward.
    Hope you enjoyed your reading day

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    • I’m inclined to think we’ll have a woman before a Latino here. I mean, but for an antiquated voting system we’d have one now. Elizabeth Warren is extremely popular and just as progressive as Bernie Sanders. I believe she’ll run in 2020. And if she does I believe she’ll win. But this year she chose not to. Has there never been a non-white Prime Minister?

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      • Let’s hope both a woman and a Latino become president in the near future. No, sadly, there has never been a non-white PM. We’ve had a Jewish PM, but most have been white men from privileged, privately educated backgrounds with only a few from what you’d call the lower end of the socio-economic scale. (Currently 29% of our members of parliament – similar to your congressmen – are female, only 6.6% non-white) We’re still pretty backward as far as class / monetary divisions are concerned and social mobility for people from poor and / or ethnic minority backgrounds is pretty stagnant.

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      • I remember just a few years ago (maybe 2011 or 2013) there were 20 women in the Senate for the first time in the history of the chamber. But that’s only 20%. I think a new record was just set this year, but I don’t recall hearing an actual number. Women make up 51% of the American population. There’s no reason that number shouldn’t be represented at all levels of government. I do think the numbers are better at the local level. I have a question here. Citizens in the UK do not actually elect the PM, right? He or she is elected by Parliament, right? Which makes those numbers you’re telling me make more sense. If there’s hardly any minorities to choose from, then they won’t choose them. If I’m incorrect on the structure, then please tell me.

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      • Well, we elect our members of parliament at a local level – people who theoretically should represent the needs of their region in the national parliament in London. But out of them certain MPs will be selected by their own party to be leader. Then when we come to a national election, the whole country gets to vote on which of those leaders and their party we want to run the country for the next four or five years. Saying that, the present PM was foisted on us as the last one left part way through his tenure – this meant no national election. Instead, the ruling party’s members voted for a new leader who became PM by default. Does that make sense?
        Yes, you’re absolutely right – what we really need is our governing bodies to have gender / ethnicity splits similar to the general population. Then we might come close to truly representative governments.
        Sadly, many young people from ethnic backgrounds here are not encouraged to even consider a life in politics. We need a real cultural shift from the grass roots up and from the top down to change that and that will take generations.

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      • Yes. Makes sense. Although I can’t say I’d like that system. Of course, we still have the terrible Electoral College. Theresa May is going to be the first leader to visit President Trump. I have no idea how that’ll go. No matter what happens behind closed doors, the US and UK will remain close allies on all fronts throughout this administration and afterward. We’re facing the same thing. Young people want to be involved but want no part of public office. But the real problem we have is gerrymandering. My understanding is the US is the only country that allows elected officials to draw their own districts. It makes absolutely no sense to me. Every ten years districts get drawn to be more representative of one party than the previous district. So then when elections come around it doesn’t matter that no one trusts Congress because everyone in the districts has the same mindset and belief system. I wish it was outlawed and the federal government drew the districts strictly by population on a non partisan basis.

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      • You’re quite right, it would be an extraordinarily brave and foolish PM who risked the ‘special relationship’ – I’m sure Teresa May and Trump will be very nice to each other when they meet – even if they say appalling things to their aides afterwards!
        I did not know about officials drawing up their own districts – that’s extraordinary. I wonder how it came about? We might not like it, but at least it’s legal. We’ve had a lot of political scandals here over the years, from MPs involved in sexual scandals to MPs selling their power and influence to the highest bidder to them conning their expenses to the tune of thousands of pounds. Sadly, when people are given power, some will be corrupted – it’s the nature of things

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      • I think the practice is named after a 20th century politician. I’d have to look. I don’t mind scandal every now and again because elected officials are just people. My issue is fairness. If an official is having an affair with an intern, so what. If an official is being open about his or her unpopular opinions, so what. Vote them out of office. But when you have things like selling access to one’s office or influence, that’s what everyone in a democratic society should have a real issue with. Because one official likely knows several more who are doing the same. Today a bipartisan group of ethics lawyers and scholars said Trump is violating the Constitution with his business dealings. A lawsuit was filed today.

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      • Oh, yes, most of the sex scandals here were years ago and the big one (the Porfumo affair in the 60s) was mainly because the call girl the Minister for War was sleeping with was also sleeping with a Russian naval attache. Not good during the height of the Cold War. But yes, corruption – selling your power to the heighest bidder, swindling the national purse for thousands to pay for luxury bird houses and second homes when you’re already a millionaire – we shouldn’t have to put up with that.
        I heard that Trump’s business affairs were in question, though of course he denies he’s done anything wrong. It will be interesting to see how that pans out.

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