[By Shideh] Today is voting day (Super Tuesday), when nearly half of the states in the U.S. pick their republican and democratic candidates for the November Presidential elections. The race has basically narrowed down to five candidates: Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama for democrats, and Mike Huckabee, John Mccain, and Mitt Romney for Republicans.
It is definitely an exciting day here in Berkeley, a wave of enthusiasm for voting is felt as you walk through the south gate of the campus. Mostly I hear Obama’s name on the student’s flyers and yes, they are hopeful for the future of their country. It seems many older people see something nobel in Obama, something that reminds them of America’s older heroes, like Martin Luther King, or John F. Kennedy. I like this feeling and atmosphere, and can’t get enough of it. It reminds me of the presidential elections in Iran, for Khatami’s first campain. I was a high school student then and one of his huge supporters at that time.
Photograph courtesy of New York News and Features
As an Iranian living in America, I naturally care a lot about the outcome of today’s elections and of course the November elections. If I could vote, I would vote for a leader who would concentrate on improving this country (in terms of education, health care, infrastructure, research,…) more than focusing on offense and war, a leader who would advocate tolerance and deep respect for all. I specifically want a leader who would unconditionally support direct dialogue (political, scientific, etc.) with Iran and many other countries that have found their way to the U.S. black list for one reason or another. I want change, a deep change in current U.S. foreign policies and in the budget spent on propaganda, racism, hatred, and offense. I want this all to end, yet is a president alone able to make all these changes? Is this country ready for change? Is the president really the one in power or is he really only a puppet in the hands of lobbyists, investors, bankers,…, you know those quiet powers that are behind the scene? Is this a game or does it somewhat matter who’s the president? If so, to what extent?