It’s getting beyond a joke. Everywhere I look, every television channel I switch to, every news website I visit (even this one), every newspaper I open, every conversation I listen to… it’s all the same: Trump or Clinton? Donald v Hillary? Everyone, it seems, has a joke or a tale of caution or an opinion to share.
Heck, I bet that most of you can now name more American politicians than you can New Zealand ones. There’s John Key, of course. And then…? See. Told you. But you can name at least three Americans: Obama, Trump and Clinton.
We’re obsessed! Will the man with the questionable hair be able to defeat the wife of a former president? Will Hillary Clinton become the first woman to lead the United States? Will Trump’s views on immigration be enough to secure him the presidency? Is Trump safe to have as president? Is Clinton experienced enough? Do I care? No!
And here’s why. Apart from wanting the US (in fact, any country) to elect more women into positions of leadership (and, let’s not forget, New Zealand has already done that. Twice), I’m really not bothered. America is miles away. So far away that in America it’s currently yesterday. Anything that reaches these shores from the US is already, therefore, yesterday’s yesterday’s news. So old fashioned…
There are countries that are bigger, and countries that are closer, where I’ve no idea who’s in charge. And I don’t feel any less uninformed for not knowing. I can sleep perfectly soundly at night not knowing who’s in charge of India, or who the president of Brazil is, or who the candidates might be for the next elections in Sweden. So why should I care about Trinton and Clump (or whatever their names are)?
Why else? Well, I live in New Zealand. I’m not governed by the laws of the United States, I don’t drive on the righthand side of the road, I don’t get paid in US dollars, I don’t pay my taxes to the American government, I don’t do my supermarket shopping in Kansas nor do I take my dog for a walk in California, I haven’t pledged allegiance to the flag, I have no idea about the Amendments to the Constitution, and – most importantly – I am not able to vote in the US election. So there.
What I hope is this: whatever decision America makes about its next president is exactly the same as I hope every country makes about their next presidents and prime ministers: that whoever is elected is done so fairly and honestly; and that whoever is chosen takes his or her job seriously and carries it out responsibly and wisely.
Beyond that, it’s got nothing to do with us.
Critical Thinking Challenges:
1. Why should we care about the US election? Has it got anything to do with us?
2. Trump or Clinton?
3. How many New Zealand politicians can you name?
4. Why is politics – of any country – important or interesting (or not) to you?
5. Why do you think so many people have an opinion on what happens in America – and, perhaps, more of an opinion on what happens there than here in New Zealand?
6. Why is so important to have more women as presidents or prime ministers?
1. Can you answer my questions? Who is president of Brazil? Who is in charge of India? Who might contest the next election in Sweden?
2. Look at the policies of Trump and Clinton? Who do you think might make a better prime minister of New Zealand? Why?
3. If you were standing for president of America, what would your campaign be? Put together an election campaign that outlines your policies and why you think people should elect you. Perhaps several of your classmates can have a class president contest and see who gets voted in.
Have Your Say: