As a kid growning up in Southwest Oklahoma in the early 50′s, I can remember official racism -water fountains (white/colored), restrooms (white/colored), schools (white/colored). Yet, I also remember the “colored” woman who had a small farm to the west of ours and as I walked the country road from country school to home, she would give me a ride.
I remember the Supreme Court ruling in 1954 against “equal but separate” and the chaos that followed over the years…the Forrest Gump years.
So today is a big step forward for the United States on a journey that has yet to end. Perhaps, it is even a bigger step for the American people; especially African-Americans.
November 4, 2008 — Who?
Brazilians are following the US elections. It is all a bit confusing to them. Elections here are well run and there are seldom serious problems. The Electoral College baffles Brazilians as well. The vote here is direct. The 2000 US elections left Brazilians shaking their heads and asking how a superpower could have such complicated elections?
I would say the majority of Brazilians are for Obama. Bush has never been popular here, which has been a negative for McCain along with his age.
UPDATE: 13 November 08
I was raised in Oklahoma. I can remembrer seeing drinking fountains and restrooms designated Whites and Coloreds. Schools were seperate, but not equal. That all changed after 1954, and unlike the Deep South, desegreation went relatively smoothly. But I can remember: the turmoil in Little Rock when President Eisenhower called out Federal troops to force integration, Black Panthers’ shootout in Los Angeles, Million Man March on Washington……and now an African-American President. There have been many ugly and nasty events over the years, but electing Obama as President goes in some small measure towards balancing out the previous wrongs and there were SO many wrongs!.
Yesterday, 5 Oct. 2008, Brazilian voters went to the polls to elect Mayors and City Council members. Actually, here the county and city are one and are called “municipios”. There are 5,564 counties (municipios) in Brazil. The US has 3,141. I don’t know the actual number, but a high percentage of Brazilian municipios require Federal and State money to survive. A good many of these should be merged with more economically viable municipios in order to free up money for investment in basic services.
Voting in Brazil is mandatory.
Brazil has electronic voting machines. The election results are usually known before midnight. It is a very efficient system; simple and fast.
On the other hand, in some regions where the law is weak and the passions are strong, you have political violence. This is mostly in small, rural municipios in the NE, Minas Gerias, Goiás, Mato Grosso and the Amazon region; however, it can happen most anywhere. The Federal Government puts troops or State Police into the more volatile municipios, which usually succeeds in keeping the peace.
But all in all, Brazil’s voting process works..better than in some advanced countries. And remember, this country is the fifth largest in the world with large areas that are sparsely populated.