Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The United States Elects Barack Obama as President

The election is over. Finally. It’s been a long night. When I finally couldn’t take it anymore the clock said 4:35. According to SVT Obama led in the Electoral College 207-135. And I went to bed. My eyes were starting to burn from staring at the TV, computer, and texting my little brother back home for news from the scene.

I set my alarm this morning for 10 because I needed to know. And when I woke up CNN told me that history had been made. Technically history would have been made regardless of which candidate won due to McCain’s age and his running mate’s gender, but that’s not the history people were interested in making. So Obama won. CNN gives Obama 338 Electoral College votes to McCain’s 163. The popular vote 52% to 47%. I wouldn’t classify it as a landslide, but the Democrats did what they needed to do.

So on January 20th, George W. Bush will leave office, handing over the White House to Barack Obama. And 8 years of Republican rule will come to an end. The Democrats will take over with control of the White House, seeing as Obama won. The Senate, because as it stands right now CNN gives 56 seats to the Democrats, 50 seats to the Republicans, with 4 still undecided. And the House of Representatives with CNN giving 251 seats to the Democrats, 173 to the Republicans, and 11 still undecided. Should a Supreme Court justice die or decide to step down, Obama will have the opportunity to appoint a Justice, potentially giving the Democrats control of every single branch of the government.

My home state of Colorado, long a bastion of Red, has turned Blue. Very blue. It went to Obama. The Senate race went to a Democrat. The House race for my district also went to a Democrat. But to be honest, in that race I’m pumped it went to a Democrat. Because the incumbent Republican should have been booted from office long ago. And while I might consider myself a Republican, I am well aware that even Republicans can really suck sometimes. And the incumbent sucked. So now no one can tell me that a white male Republican won’t ever vote for a female Democrat. Because I did.

In one of the more interesting ballot issues in Colorado right now is the vote to end Affirmative Action. As it stands right now with 87% of precincts reporting, the measure is tied 50-50. For some reason I would find it very fitting if the country elected a black man to the highest office in the country, and Colorado ended Affirmative Action all in one fell swoop.

Some other political thoughts I’ve been playing with: Politically active and engaged people should never live in Hawaii. By the time Hawaii comes around the election tends to be over. And that must be frustrating as all hell. What incentive do they have to vote at that point? Actually voting and incentives are an interesting little applied economics question. One that the good men from Freakonomics have tackled in a piece titled “Why Vote?

Results shouldn’t be released until everyone has voted. As I have repeatedly mentioned, I am a huge nerd. But this was something I was thinking about in bed the night before the election. It was also something my old man brought up on Election Day. I’m just going to go out on a limb and say it: great minds think alike.

Anyway, this would solve Hawaii’s problems. Let’s say all the polls closed at 7 pm in their respective time zones. They don’t. I know, but work with me here. If every state in the Eastern Time Zone closed at 7 pm and one candidate swept those states, that candidate would have 193 Electoral College votes. And that’s only counting the states that are entirely in the Eastern Time Zone. If we throw in the states that still have a majority of their land mass in the Eastern Time zone we are up to 256 Electoral College votes. It takes 270 to win. That’s not all that exciting for those politically inclined who find themselves on Pacific Standard Time. Or even Mountain Standard Time. And don’t forget the aforementioned poor bastards in Hawaii. By simply not releasing the results until all the votes are cast, the feeling of disenfranchisement that the western part of the US might experience in landslide victories could be eliminated. And as this guy notes, it would also allow the media to really play up one big moment. The release of the results. That’s high drama. That’s good election TV.

And good election TV is something I could have gone for last night. My first real election from abroad was a good one. I’m glad I kept my ass awake for as long as I did, even though it didn’t really matter in the long run. I’m glad everything seems to have gone pretty smoothly, no need for recounts or courts. I’m also glad it’s over though.

I’d like to end by noting that over the last two years, Obama has been hailed for his speeches and his ability to speak to the nation. And he’s good. But McCain’s speech conceding the race and congratulating Obama is by far one of the best speeches I have heard in a long time.

“Americans never quit. We never surrender.

We never hide from history. We make history.”

And last night the United States of America made history.

For those of you interested, here is the Swedish media’s take on things:
Obama höll tacktal till nationen
Storseger för Barack Obama
Visionären Obama tackade folket
Historisk seger för Barack Obama
Valnatten: från de första rösterna till den historiska segraren
President – ett mardrömsuppdrag
Karismatisk segrare med ovanlig bakgrund
Världens ledare gratulerar Obama
Vinsten – yes he could

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33 comments:

  1. Hey,
    I stumbled across your blog today while randomly searching Google. I'm really enjoying myself. Great blog. I'm a Swede living in Sweden but it's always great fun to read other people's views on the Swedish way of life.

    Anywho, the reason I decided to comment here (and not just to commend you for your fantastic blog) was actually to ask what your name is and where in Sweden you lived as a kid? See when you say you moved from Sweden at age 6 and are now 24 (am I right?) it made me think of a boy who was supposed to start in the same first grade class as me but moved to the US with his family. He was 6 at the time, I think. So he should be 24 now. His name was Håkan and lived in Hässelby Villastad (suburb of Stockholm). It's probably way too far-fetched but I was just wondering if that was you :)

    Take care,
    ///Anna

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  2. Would you mind to shed some light as to why you consider yourself a republican?

    Where do you stand on questions like abortion and teaching intelligent design in schools?

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  3. I was shocked that my home state of Indiana went blue, as well.

    I have to make a point about your voting theory (which I think really comes from some sub-conscious Freudian, the-east-coast-media-hates-the-Pac 10 bias). I know that my vote means nothing when I vote for a democratic president here in Tennessee, but I do it anyway, because it is my right and my privilege in this great country to do so. So while my vote may not matter to the polls, it matters a great deal to me.

    and you are spot on. Because that was, I think, the real John McCain last night and it made me proud. It was sad to see him throwing those wild punches in the dark towards the end, pretending to be something that he's not, but the man that gave the concession speech last night was a hero and a patriot.

    Lastly let me follow up anon's question (which if you're gonna ask something like that at least man up and use your on name), by asking if you consider yourself a republican or a conservative, because I posit that they really aren't the same anymore.

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  4. Being an American citizen how do you handle paying Swedish and US taxes?

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  5. @anna – glad you’ve been enjoying the blog.

    And to answer your question, although I really wish I was Håkan just because of the glorious story that would have made… I’m not. The story fits pretty well, apparently I’m not alone in my family history. But I don’t think I’ve ever even been to Hässelby Villastad I’m afraid.

    @anonymous – for the most part my conservatism stems from financial issues, small business, free markets, that sort of thing. In terms of the more social issues Im a bit more liberal with a few conservative issues thrown in for good measure.

    Abortion, I hate the idea. Its an awful thing to think about. But I don’t think it’s any of my business what decision someone wants to make. But I also believe there are limits. I think that abortion should be allowed through the first trimester. After that first trimester, unless the mothers life is at risk or there are some other extenuating circumstances, abortion should not be allowed.

    Intelligent design, I don’t agree with it. I don’t believe in it. But I’m a bit torn on the issue. I had a problem when Sweden stopped allowing faith based schools from teaching it here in Sweden. And I wrote about it which led to a lively discussion here: Sweden Separates the Church and the State.

    Gay marriage and all that good stuff, don’t really care. You want to make out with a guy and marry him. Go for it. It’s not my business. What goes on in your bedroom is your business. I believe that it’s a biological issue not a choice and so you shouldn’t discriminate against biology.

    Immigration Im a bit conservative on as well as a couple of other social issues.

    But in the end, the answer is because of the fiscal side of things. That’s why I consider myself a republican.

    @john – there were a few shockers last night. But those kinds of changes are what help parties evolve and meet the nees of the people. I expect the republican party to learn a lot from this. It will be interesting to see what happens four years down the road. Condoleeza Rice perhaps?

    You’re right about the votes. I voted Republican in Oregon while studying there. In Eugene, Oregon no less. Not exactly a red state. But I did it because I voted for what I believed in. The whole voting thing is interesting, because you’re right, all we get is that good feeling sometimes. Especially when you find yourself on the losing end. And then that good feeling is tempered. You should check out that article from the Frakonomics guys that I link to called Why Vote? I think you might enjoy it.

    And again, you’re also right about McCain. That’s the kind of person I voted for. And that’s the reason I voted for him. Because he’s damn good.

    And also in terms of the question above, you’re right, they are different. And actually I still claim to be a republican just because that’s what I have to work with in the US. But I don’t think I really fit the classic Republican view in terms of the hot button issues like abortion for example. Having been in Sweden for a while now, I really do enjoy the fact that they have so many more parties, granted they are all liberal as hell, but there is plenty to choose from.

    @azeem – well… I cringe a bit every time I see how much the Swedes take from me. And, actually I cringe even when I see how much the Americans take from me, even though I know that its not nearly as much as much of Europe is paying.

    From a practical point of view, I don’t really earn any money in the US so there aren’t really any taxes to pay there right now. So I just stick with the Swedish taxes. Which I must say were incredibly simple and easy to file. Which is probably good, because if people spent too much time looking at those tax forms and how much they actually end up paying there might be riots.

    Hopefully that answers your question.

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  6. "I really do enjoy the fact that they have so many more parties, granted they are all liberal as hell, but there is plenty to choose from"

    I don’t agree with you on the “plenty to choose from” part. It is true thatwe have seven parties in our parliament while the US have two (I think), but there is another side of it.

    There are two years to go until the next election in Sweden and I can almost tell you for sure which two people will be fighting for the office of Prime minister (Reinfeldt and Sahlin). This is because the field in which the 7 parties operate is divided into two blocks; the socialist block and the non-socialist block. You can think of the socialist block as a Swedish equivalent to the Democratic party and the non socialist block as an equivalent to the Republican party. Parties within a block will disagree on some issues but share their basic values. Pretty much the same way as politicians within an American party will disagree on some issues but share their basic values.

    If the non socialist block gets more seats in a parliament after an election the leader of the major non socialist party (The Moderate Party) will be elected prime minister and the policies negotiatet before the election by party leaders will be carried out. The same goes for the Social democrats (the major socialist party) and the Socialist block. So basicly you have two alternatives in a Swedish election.

    In the US however, the voters had 16 different candidates to vote for in the primaries, each with their own set of policies. 8 of these candidates had real chances of actually becoming president (Obama, Clinton, Edwards, McCain, Romney, Giuliani, Huckabee, Thompson). So an american voter had 8 alternatives to choose from.

    My point is that if we are counting parties, then yes, Swedish voters have more to choose from. But if we are counting real alternatives the American voter has more to choose from.

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  7. Snee: I agree with you on the issue of there being two "blocks" to choose from in sweden, but when you compare that to the US you only make a point about the president/prime minister. The parties in sweden may be similar in many ways, but in some key issues they are all uniqe. Who ever becomes prime minister may have a bit more power than the rest of the government (especially in the Göran Persson case) but it's mainly the parties line on different policys that they follow. Then there is the fact that a vote for Vp or Mp has always ment a vote for a S government, wich I as a "green" voter have always had a problem with. I consider ourselves lucky not to have elections with a huge emphasis on people, but rather policys. And Hairy: When you bring up the issue of the democrats controlling every single branch of government I as a swede think it seems fare considering how the elections went. As in our parliament people that get elected tend to switch sides on various issues or just lay down there vote. Anyway, politics in a democracy is mainly about discussion and I et there will be plenty. Democracy may be a slow process, but at least it often leads to well informed decissions.

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  8. On a sidenote: The most fun I had tonight was by far when Petra Nordlund accidentaly called Bertil Karlfors "Bertil Falukorv" for the second US election in a row...haha

    No 1: 2004
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kUn_cESvrx8

    No 2: 2008
    http://se.youtube.com/watch?v=I4Wi9-NuBEM

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  9. I'm very glad that Obama won. I'm an independent from Illinois and I saw him a few years ago at my university. Ever since then, I was absolutely 100% for Obama. I don't agree with everything on the Democratic (or Republican) platform, however. All in all, though.. I'm very happy. I think he is diplomatic enough to help the two parties work together and also help change how other countries view the USA.

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  10. Jonas: “The parties in sweden may be similar in many ways, but in some key issues they are all uniqe”

    And this is exactly what candidates in the primaries are like in the US. A Romney administration would be different from a McCain administration and a Clinton administration would be different from an Obama administration. Much like the People’s Party is different from the Moderate Party and the Green Party is different from the Social Democrats. The difference is that, in Sweden, at best a vote for the People’s Party might give them a bit more influence in negotiations within the block.

    My point is that in Sweden the alternatives are the two blocks, while in the US each candidate is a different alternative since the voters decide in the primaries which candidates will be on the ballot for the two major parties.

    I agree with hairy on the braches thing. One of the many, many benefits with the superior US system is that the power is divided. A democratic president would have to reach across to republicans if the senate or congress is republican. This forces politicians to work toghether and come up with solutions that are accepted by democrats and republicans alike. And voters are given a chance to slow an impopular president down by electing senators or congressmen of the opposing party.

    In Sweden however, there is no reason what so ever for the block that gets 51% of the votes to cooperate with those who lost by getting 49%. The government will always belong to the same block as the parliament and there is no division of the power.

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  11. @snee – I was speaking more in reference to the overall political scene rather than just the president or prime minister. By having so many different parties it makes it much easier to find something that fits your beliefs more closely. It allows you to categorize yourself much easier than just picking one or two main parties in the US. Because in Sweden, if you are a fan of the communist party, you can vote communist and they might actually have some representation in the parliament. If you vote communist in the US you can almost be guaranteed that you will have absolutely no representation in the US government.

    But I think you are right about the choosing of the leader of the government. The US with the primaries does a good work of allowing many choices and allowing the people more choice in electing that person. As I understand it, it is actually the Riksdag that chooses the prime minister which seems to take a lot of the choice away from the voters.

    @jonas – I think its fair that the democrats get all branches also. I was just pointing out that they now have control of both the executive and legislative branches of government and are just a supreme court appointment or two away from having control of the judicial. I love the different branches of governments and the checks and balances that entails.

    And you’re right about democracy being a slow process. And that is one thing I wish more people realized. Especially in a country the size of the US.

    @jonas – love it.

    @rinalyn – I think a lot of people are happy about his election. Im happy that everything went well. Im happy that its over. Im happy that John McCain gave one of the better speeches I have seen in along time and reinforced the idea of the person I voted for.

    @snee – some interesting points about the division of power in Sweden. Something Ive never actually thought about. Very interesting.

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  12. Oh yeah! A black man in the white house!

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  13. Hairy: I think you can categorize yourself pretty well in the US as well. As a republican you can be a conservative, a libertarian, a neocon etc. Pretty much like a Swedish rightwinger can be a supporter of the Moderate Party, a supporter of the Center Party, a supporter of the People’s Party etc.

    As a libertarian I would keep voting for the most libertarian candidate within the Republican Party. No matter if it is in the presidential election, senate election or congress (there are usually more than one republican to choose from, right (I’ve never paid much attention to a congress or senate race so I really don’t know)). In every election I would have to study each candidate’s positions on different issues in order to see how well he or she matches mine and reconsider what things are more important than others. I would have to make quite an effort in educating myself in order to vote for the things i believe in. Which is probably why turnout is lower in the US than in Sweden.

    In Sweden a lot of people make up their minds once during their first elecion and then just keeps on voting fort that party. Voting is more about confirming that you haven’t changed your mind. The party will always be there to vote for. In the US this is impossible since you vote for people rather than parties and people come and go.

    I went quite a bit off topic there, and I could go on for quite some time about in how many ways the American system is superior, but my question is still: In what way is it more to choose from in Sweden?

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  14. @lu - one of those deep comments.

    @snee - Let me start out by noting that I think the American system is excellent. It works. It’s old and could probably use a tweak here and there but for the most part it has served the American people really well.

    But to get to your comment more specifically, once the primaries are over and the general election is underway there tends to only be one candidate from each party. So the primary elections have even lower turnout usually than the general election.

    And to answer your question as I see it: If you look at the RIksdag there are 7 different parties sitting there, with an 8th right on the brink of getting the required 4% to get in. In the US Senate and House there are three parties. The Democrats and Republicans. And I believe there are only 2 or 3 Independents combined between the two. Obviously there are many different shades of blue and red but when it comes down to it there are really only two parties that are relevant. That’s why I believe there are more choices in terms of parties that are relevant in government.

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  15. Interesting that you should mention it. Freakonomics author Stephen J. Dubner is coming to Vanderbilt.
    http://sitemason.vanderbilt.edu/news/releases/2008/10/29/best-selling-author-of-freakonomics-comes-to-vanderbilt-university-nov-18.66819

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  16. Hairy:

    Where in the Swedish government is there a communist party?

    I don't have anything against Mccain, not at all. I thought he was a cool guy humble in congratulating Obama, (loyal to the US and everything) UNTIL.... I heard his speech final speech where he said that america is "The greatest nation on earth" I didn't know whether to cry or laugh.
    Who says that?? just imagine if reinfieldt would have said something like that.. They would make him leave his post, and I thought that the guy was humble!

    If someone says that any country is The Greatest one earth, that person is an idiot. For there is no such thing as "good countries" especially not "great countries" Countries are constitutions made by people, and people are not good. Definately not great.

    Thank You,

    /Freja

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  17. @john - very cool. I would definitely pay $10 to see him speak.

    @freja - there isnt a communist party in the swedish government. I was just making an example by using an extreme.

    and thats fair enough about mccain. I assume you feel the same about obama then also? and really every american politician. because they all use that kind of hyperbole. its just the way it is in american politics.

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  18. Stars and bars, baby!November 8, 2008 at 5:08 AM

    Yeah, that is the attitude which makes a lot of Europeans annoyed of Americans. "The greatest nation on earth", "the land of the free and the home of the brave" etc. It's all super-patriotic bullshit. The worst thing is that if you don't agree with it there will be a lot of Americans calling you "un-American" and "un-patriotic" and as we all know that is the worst thing, in the WHOLE WIDE WORLD, you can possibly imagine yourself being....

    With that being said, congratulations USA for chossing the better of the two candidates, electing a Democrat after all these years and overcoming a lot of that racial barrier by electing a (partially) black President. Well done! Next step will be to stop seeing yourself as the overlords of the world chosen by God to kill all Muslims and take their oil! You can get there!

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  19. I know I'm getting in here a little late, but I wanted to throw in my two cents.

    The "greatest nation on earth" thing that Freja brought up is bugging me. We're not the only nation that does it. Recently Tony Blair said, "The British are special - the world knows it, in our innermost thoughts we know it. This is the greatest nation on earth." So whatever. Who the hell cares if Reinfieldt would have said the same thing. Taking pride in your country isn't a bad thing, no matter where you're from. I think that Blair quote is perfect, and I'm not even close to being British. I'm not saying that it would be easy to determine which nation is the greatest, but to semantically argue that there are no 'good' nations because they're are founded by people who are inherently bad is just crap.

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  20. Im with you on this one. I love a little national pride. Hell, I think Id like to hear good old Fredrik saying something along those lines. Show a little personality, a little passion for the country he is serving.

    And Im glad you picked up this subject. I just kind of let it go. But my big problem was the people are not good so countries cant be good and especially not great. I just don’t buy it. Mostly because I have the utmost faith in people when it comes down to it. For better or worse.

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  21. Im sorry but I just don't think that as a presidential candidate saying that the country you want to govern is "the greatest on earth" is showing " a little national pride"

    To me, a little national pride is when you sing the national anthem on the 4th of july (depending on which country you're from of course) or to be hospitable to people visiting your country by showing them what's typical from that country (food, traditions etc.)

    Maybe it's me having a hard time to explain my feelings/thoughts on a language which is not my native tounge, but I think I get my point across.

    By saying that countries aren't great because they're governed by people - I don't neccisarily mean that all people are bad or evil. But all people are most certainly not good or great either. We're just people, that's all. Something in between great and crap I believe. And yea, in a country where 30.40 million employees are denied the basic human right to organize in a union, where 40 million people lack medical insurance and
    "From 1940 through 1996, expenditures for nuclear weapons ($5.5 trillion), exceeded the combined total federal spending on education, training, employment, and social services; agriculture; natural resources and the environment; general sciences and space research; community and regional development; law enforcement; and energy production and regulation."
    But sure, US is absolutely the Greatest Nation on earth, I mean being proud of being one of the two only nations on earth that haven't agreed to the convention on the rights of the child, is just showing a little national pride. i taking US as an example now, not because is worse than all other countries, but because McCain said so and I dissagree with him.

    Sweden, Somalia, GB, Germany, Cuba or Japan aren't the best countries in the world either, couse I stick to my opinion, even though it's poorly written.

    Just don't come and tell me that countries are GREAT cause they're not. There is plenty of evidence proving that.

    Thank you.

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  22. Freja,
    That was the biggest bunch of bullshit I have ever heard.
    I have no idea where you get your stst from... 30.40 million people denied to organize a union and 40 million people lack medical insurance. Lies, lies and then statisitics!!
    I can not understand why anyone would be upset/offended by someone stating that they are proud of their country and think it is the greatest country on earth.
    I think the world needs a LOT more of PRIDE, we would be a lot better world if that was the case.
    I assume you are then not a bit thrilled when your country plays a sport, and I also assume you have no elevated pulse or adrenalin when somebody bashes your country or you for being a citizen of that country
    Get some pride

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  23. It should be 30-40 millions, but the "dut" buttom is next to the (-) so i pressed wrong, sorry.

    If you think that Im not proud when my country (whatever that is, I was born and grew up in Japan, have a Swedish mother and an Israelian father, have lived in both the US (only for two years but still) and in Sweden for 10 years) you have not read my post.
    As I said before, national pride for me is not to say that a country is the best in the world, but to be happy about (or proud of) small things that your country accomplish - such as winning a football game, being the country which gives the most amount of aid to third world countries or something like that.
    I like Sweden, and I can even shed a tear when we win a hockey game, but Im not proud over the fact the Swedes are seen as cold people, or the fact that there is a great lack of jobs for young people or that kids in segregated areas around gothenburg (where I live) have lower grades and worse health than kids in "swedish" areas.

    btw, what's wrong with statistics?

    Thank you.

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  24. First and foremost, Anonymous needs to take it down a notch. Or sign his/her name. One or the other.

    Second, I appreciate Freja's opinion, and in English no less. If I had to articulate my opinion på svenska this would be a very short answer, as Hairy Swede can attest to.

    Now on to discussion...

    I've thought long and hard about your response, and at first I thought you took issue with McCain saying it was the "greatest" and I was going to let you have that one, because really, how can you quantify that? It's like telling someone you love them. Prove it.

    But I'm still not buying that there are no great countries, or even good countries. There are a lot of good countries. Good countries do bad things sometimes, but I think that, among other things it's their ability to recognize that and change course that makes them good.

    There are a lot of things here in the states that people value that they don't anywhere else in the world. Taxes is a good example. People here hate taxes, and the thought of paying 55% of your income in taxes generally has people running for their guns (I'm being cute here, don't think I'm serious.) Our citizens have decided that lower taxes is something they value, for better or worse. That's what they want, so they vote for it. And that to me is what is so great about this country, and yours (I'm assuming your Swedish). You as a nation have decided that cradle-to-grave coverage is for you, and you don't mind paying for it with high taxes. Right there--great nation. And there's no reason why you shouldn't be proud of that, and why your leaders shouldn't be pround of that and say it. "Congrats! Pat on the back Sweden--we did it". That wouldn't be so bad, would it?

    Just so you don't think its all sunshine and gum drops, there are things that make both of our countries look not so great, as your statistics pointed out (which aren't entirely accurate according to my research). Like the fact that the USA has taken in fewer refugees than Sweden from a war we needlessly started. That bugs the hell out of me, and is amazing of Sweden for sure.

    One topic that is not so great is how Sweden sold out to the Nazi's during WWII. It's hard to be impressed by the statistic that the peace-loving Swedish nation hasn't been in a war for 225 years when you know what they did to stay out of possibly the only just war in the past century. But, to state it like that would do disservice to how quickly they reversed course and saved 100,000 Jews by granting asylum. That was a national decision made by the people, because seriously, accomidating 100,000 jews in a country of 6 million (Sweden's est. population at the time of the war) is something everyone has to be on board with.

    And there again is my point--the ability of a nation to decide, as a people, what they value and then have they dynamic ability to realize that goal makes them at least good, if not great.

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  25. ps. this is actually dr. david knightfish. i'm undercover.

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  26. an excellent discussion...

    the good dr. trying to sneak in under a different name said really everything I would have liked to say, but in a much better way than I would have been able to.

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  27. The sign factory (or knightfish)

    Very good and well reasoned opinion! almost so good that it made me change mine.. noo not really :)
    But I definately see it in another light or perspective now. Of course there are lot's of things other than your country winning a game to be proud of. Im very proud of the Swedish parental system, and childcare policies that are lot better and more discussed than in other countries. If I were from Iran, I would be proud of the amazing cultures, poets and the delicious food - but less proud of the fact that there are laws telling people how to act, dress and look. So yea, in that sense you have good or bad countries. I wouldn't qualify Zimbabwe as a good country, neither would I with Kongo-Kinshasa, due to crappy and corrupt leadership forgetting about the people. On the other hand, I cant see what country would be the opposite to that? with a great political system that works and where things work and the inhabitants are happy.
    I read somewhere that the Danish, according to themselves, are the happiest people in the world so maybe Denmark would be the opposite to Zimbabwe?
    But then again, Denmark is not perfect or great either, they still have a lot of domestic issues to take care of (and what's up with them still "colonizing" Greenand?)

    Anyway, I think you have a good point, and I like being able to discuss things without people being aggressive.


    Thank you

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  28. just a good discussion all around. I love it.

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  29. I just have to Ask about this:

    "...Swedish nation hasn't been in a war for 225 years..."

    I thought Sweden's last war was in 1809 when Sweden lost Finland to Russia. Resently Sweden even had coins made to "celebrate" this. Is this incorrect??

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  30. I actually believe the last declared was in 1814. I think the 225 years was just a bit of hyperbole.

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  31. Thanks for jumping in Hairy. Indeed, a bit of a hyperbole. It could be argued that they've broken their neutrality on more than one occasion since then as well, but you get the idea whether it's 225 or 196.

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  32. no worries, in the grand scheme a few extra years is nothing.

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