My grandfather often found it blasphemous that I found American politics boring, even more so when I studied Soviet/Russian, Scandanavian and African political systems in college. By no means am I an expert, but I learned enough to have a conversation. The topic interested me enough that after I graduated from Minnesota State U., I might go get a Master's in Political Science. Seminary won out obviously. Maybe Political Science will be the degree I work on after I retire.
Soviet/Russian politics were more of a novelty. Anything Russian or Soviet in my youth held great mystery. The Beatles and Sting wrote songs about what might be going on back there. What was really going on behind the Iron Curtain? I wanted to be on the front lines of that conversation. At least beyond my grandfather's beloved Time magazine.
African politics, though interesting because of their struggle to move beyond dicatatorship and to find harmony with modernity and tradition--did not offer much improvement over what I saw in the United States.
Scandanavian Politics, on the theoretical level, were quite compelling. Each country's systems offered stable government with multiple viable parties across a wide political spectrum. I was also drawn by their generosity--Scandanavian governments consistently give away the highest percentages of their budgets to humanitarian efforts.
If you are a regular reader of The Mad House Gazette, you know that I am no George W. Bush lover. In this country, that basically leaves me with the Democrats. What I dislike about the 2 party system is that it takes good ideas and morphs them into something that will supposedly please more people. I would guess that people on the left and right would have some innovative and useful ideas for the health of the United States. These ideas get morphed into what becomes the corporate, media driven political parties we see on television. These talking heads trade barbs and collect more money to feed their media machines of self-promotion. Democrats and Republicans are both part of this circus and I distance myself from them as much as I can.
I also believe in being a citizen. I vote. One thing I admire and miss about Minnesota is that they are able to put together some viable 3rd and 4th party candidates. Tim Penny ran with the Independence Party. The Green Party can even make a little noise. In South Dakota, 3rd party candidates tend to buck left and right and move toward wacko.
In today's Christian Science Monitor, I read a story about Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez teaming up with a politician from Massachusetts to provide subsidized heating oil for the poor in the Bay State. Certainly a populist move from Chavez--also a much more creative move than anything that Democrats can put together. Chavez is a bit wacky, but at least he is creative. I did not know that Citgo was related to Venezuelan oil, but I think they gained a customer.