Tuesday, 29 January 2008

Obamarama, or, Shane Comes Out in Support of a Candidate

Well guys, it's time. I'm jumping on the bandwagon. Maybe I'm not quite as high-profile as Oprah, eloquent as Toni Morrison, politically descended as Caroline Kennedy, or Democratically iconic as her uncle, but I'm joining them all in supporting Barack Obama in the Democratic primaries. Maybe you would like to know why. Maybe not. Either way I'm going to tell you.

First of all, consider the alternatives. I used to like John Edwards based on what I had read about his past as well as his humility to admit that he had been wrong to support the Iraq war, but he's basically not in the race anymore and in any case, he hasn't said or done anything to particularly impress me since I've begun following the election more closely. I don't trust Hillary Clinton, not one teeny little bit I don't. In my mind, she's two-faced (or maybe more like 18-faced), dishonest, ruthless, and calculating. Of course, this is to be expected: she's a politician's politician, and besides, I hear she hasn't been a bad senator. But as David Brooks pointed out in the NYT last month, a good president has different qualities from a good senator. A good president must not only have political savvy and experience, but she/he must also have character, integrity, optimism, and a certain ability to inspire her/his people. Hillary Clinton's politics of cynicism inspire nothing but the same in me, plus more than a little bit of apathy, and I think I've got enough of those on my own.

On a more sinister note, I also think that a Clinton victory in the primary would be Christmas for the G.O.P. Compared with Obama, she has next to no support from independents, and is far more hated by Republicans. If McCain (who is the only Republican I consider to not be 100% crazy), or even Romney, wins the Republican nomination, I very well imagine many fence sitters hopping over onto the Republican side for the final election. My dad's a case study, and these fence sitters are who will, eventually, determine the next president.

Of course, Obama as a candidate is much more to me than the lesser of two evils. While I certainly do not agree with every one of his ideas and policies and do not seek to deify him (after all, he is not Correa), he seems to me to be wise, dedicated, tenacious and brave. I am impressed by what I see as his humility and integrity in this campaign; his intelligent, eyes-wide-open optimism inspires hope in me as well. Certainly, one should select a candidate based on more than personal virtue, but in many cases, the candidates' proposed ideas are very similar. Therefore, as Caroline Kennedy wrote in her now-famous NYT op-ed endorsement, "qualities of leadership, character and judgment play a larger role than usual."

Ability is also important, and although his detractors often try to paint him as inexperienced and therefore incompetent, I believe that Barack Obama is just as able as Hillary Clinton to function effectively as president, if not more so. Most likely more so, because not do I believe believe him to be more open-minded and ready to take advice (from an impressive team of advisers by the way), I also see him as being less entangled in the often corrupt political mess Washington can be (ie, he has fewer ties to lobbyists, has burned/built fewer bridges, etc.).

Now, as you know, I am, in many ways, a sentimental little bitch (1), but until Obama's speech following his Iowa win, I had never before cried or even gotten teary-eyed at a political speech. I mean come on. But when he thanked the Iowa voters, praising them for believing "in the most American of ideas -- that in the face of impossible odds, people who love this country can change it," I have to admit, my eyes got a little misty. I have never been proud of my country, my nationality. I am sure you understand. But I would like to be. I am ready to be. I am ready to support a candidate because I actually believe in him/her, not because I hate him/her less than the rest. I am ready to hope that perhaps someday we will not be a global villain, that we will be more like how we were intended to be -- a city on a hill, a global leader, or at least benign. Just to hope, because that's all I can really do, and I'm optimistic.

I remember right around when this blog got started, I wrote a post about an angel I met on the subway, who told me to follow my dreams, to hope big things; he was very inspirational and etc. But actually what really inspired me was his pragmatism: he told me that if I followed my dreams, I would most likely be disappointed, but that there was a sliver of a chance that I wouldn't be, that I would be delighted and amazed, and that that chance was worth everything. With Obama, I feel like although the odds are so terrible, there is a rather formidable sliver of chance that he'll do something amazing, necessary, and unbelievable for this country, and that chance is worth everything.

(1)Sofie remember that time when we watched A Walk to Remember and we both ended up sobbing and Cookie thought something really bad had happened?

Thursday, 24 January 2008

2008, at last.

dear friends. thank you shane & else for sharing your reflections on 2007 and your intents for 2008.

here are mine:

2007 started out on the worst note a year has ever started for me. coming back to glasgow after holidays was like coming back to prison even though all the other prisoners had been set free. oh maybe not that bad, but still pretty bad.
i watched movies a lot.
things didn't really pick up until march, when i went to the US of A to travel around and feel like i was actually alive, after all. i found i was very much alive, and the trip, even though sometimes pretty exhausting (travelling alone, buses, flights, parties, being lost on manhattan for 12 hours) was like a very much needed vitamin injection. back in glasgow, i now had a more positive outlook on life, and it so happened i made some friends and eventually even a wonderful boyfriend.
school was going well also, i was enthusiastic and did pretty well because i put in a lot of work.

summer came around and it was nice, but you know, it's a bastard.

in august, back in glasgow, i felt slightly relieved to be back "on my own".
new flat, new circumstances, clean academic slate, all that jazz. it was good. and it's remained good, except for the academic part, which has proved to be unbelieveably stressful, not because of workload but because i struggled to understand the point of my briefs, and thus all i did seemed to be in vain and i didn't like any of my designs. oh well.

but, all in all; 2007 began on a horrible note and ended on a very very good one.
i feel like i am in charge of my life again.

so, how about 2008?

well, so far i've had:

1. a good final review for my much hated and cried over design project
2. an amazing birthday party
3. few, but good friends.

2008 will bring:

1. exciting travels (going to lisbon in 2 weeks and berlin in march!)
2. shane and else in june!!
3. challenges that i will try to face positively
4. changes,
5. the start of my last year in school before i leave to work in an office for a year!

Sofie in 2008:

1. a good communicator (at least better.)
2. healthier.
3. more enthusiastic.
4. productive.

much love for this year, ya'll
IT'LL BE A GOOD ONE! (inshallah)

Tuesday, 22 January 2008

Thank you Shane, for sharing your reflections on the year 2007, and for giving the world insights to your inspiring prospects. I also wish all readers a happy year 2008. May it be a more peaceful one.

Year 2007 was, like most years, a highly eventful year. And in order to be true to the theme of the blog I'll mention some events from the world in addition to my personal voyages: Kofi Annan was replaced as UN Secretary-General. Serbia won its first victory in Euro vision. A 2100 year old melon was discovered by archaeologists in western Japan! Gordon Brown as prime minister in the UK. An escaped tiger at the San Francisco Zoo killed one person and injured two others (Inspired by the article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2007). This was news to me. Anything to add to that Shane?

I personally welcomed this Chinese year of the pig - which is associated with fertility and virility - by making my last phone calls in the telemarketing company. To close that era of my life was a blessing. I lost 7 kilos the fall of 2006 because I was dreading to go to work everyday, which made me loose my appetite and almost die. So now the path was open for a year for fertility and virility. And the year of 2007 truly was exactly that for me! Not fertile in the sense of physical reproduction, but in the sense of producing new and inventive ideas. Or, at least discovering new and inventive ideas of others.

I went of to Vietnam to realize that there were beautiful people, and beauty in general, to be discovered in South-East Asia. Here the MUWCI nostalgia finally started to let go of its tight grip. I'd like to characterize this time as 'emancipation'. During this priod I also decided my plan for fall. This was a rather rushed decision, since I one night came to realize that the application deadline for Norwegian universities was in two hours! This realization came to me while I was sitting in a pub, and after I had consumed more than a reasonable amount of beers. But I still consider my choice rational.

Fall in Tromsø was characterised by 'independence and responsibility' in the sense that I found myself in the real world where one has to cook ones own food (both as a metaphor and a hard fact). Life is dialectic, and the two forces driving my life forth now was the hard challenges of the real world and the loveliness of being part of a larger framework as an individual and not a group member. And as a group member, but in a different way than before.

2008 resolutions for me:
1) (Also) to be a better communicator
2) To be an active participator in more things than before and an active people-seeker
3) To be a consumer of culture
4) To make happy plans for the future - for myself, my beloveds and for the world

Let's hear it from Sofie!

Ringing in 2008 with Perspective Heaven

Hello world,

Fashionably late as usual, welcome to the New Year on perspective-heaven.blogspot.com!!! I'll kid myself that we have readers other than my fellow bloggers and myself(1) (actually, we do -- my dad reads sometimes) and wish you all, on behalf of Else, Sofie, and myself, a very happy and scrumptious 2008, with lots of love, footwear, and chocolate covered licorice. Mmm, chocolate covered licorice...

So New Year, dear readers, let's talk! A time for new beginnings, etc, etc, etc... On New Year's Eve, my friend Ingrid and I went with my (HIPPIE) mom and my spiritual half-(HIPPIE)-sister Kate to a raw food and Biodanza New Year's Eve celebration at this ashram (think Osho) in the Mission(2). I won't get into the details. Suffice to say, Ingrid, I, and a group of GROWN ADULTS closed our eyes, stood in a circle, put our arms around each other, and swayed like bamboo in the wind to Enya. That's right, TO ENYA. It was utterly ridiculous, but the people were nice so politely we slipped out to get drunk and robot-dance to Architecture in Helsinki. Anyway, the point is that before we got into the swaying to Enya, we all went around in a circle and reflected on 2007, giving it a characterization, and shared our intentions (aka, New Year's Resolutions in hippie terminology) for 2008. This, I thought, was productive, and I'd like to repeat the process, here, with you. I'd be obliged if you would do the same, because I think it's nice to share.

2007 for Shane:

Well I rung in 2007 with gritted teeth, on an airplane back to Ecuador. I didn't want to go back, but I was determined to; I was determined to finish the year. I eventually did, and Sir Edmund Hillary couldn't have been happier that he kept climbing up, up, up. Along the way, I met some kids I'll never forget, as blurry as they become. So my characterization of the first half of 2007 is "blessed determination".

I'll need a different characterization of the second half, which can be nothing else but "transition" -- coming back to my country to stay, then moving to an unknown part of it and trying to find myself among the Ugg boots. Also, my Grandad died, so I know it's cliche, but adjusting to my life without someone so important in it was a big transition too. I know it's cheating to use two different characterizations, but I can't not.

2008 for Shane (hopefully):

Yippee. Clean slate time! This year, I resolve to:
1. Be aware of what I am doing, why I am doing it, and to what end. Be mindful, essentially.
2. Focus more on the positive aspects of my surroundings, rather than hating and criticizing and judging everything.
3. Be a better communicator. Post EVERY SINGLE DAY on Perspective Heaven (just kidding).
4. Learn to speak French.
5. Not get herpes(3).

How about you guys? Really, please do share. I want to hear.

(1)Would Grammar Girl consider this to be a proper use of the word "myself"? I'm pretty sure, because used "I" earlier on in the sentence. Read the episode yourself. What do you think? Am I right or am I wrong?
(2)SF's Mexican neighborhood.
(3)Sorry Ingrid, I know I essentially stole your joke. But it was a good one. And I substituted "herpes" for "pregnant". Herpes is grosser.