Thursday, February 18, 2010


Over the past three years I have certianly done my fair share of campaigning and I am quite at home in a van full of campaign literature for days at a time. I think my personal count at this point is six states, and last weekend I had the chance to add the UK to that list as well. I travelled to Eastbourne to campaign with my MP for the upcoming election (tentatively scheduled for May 6th). Eastbourne itself was quite nice, every bit the coastal town I had been told to expect from my time in the office thus far.

What did take me by surprise was who was actually doing the canvassing. We met up with a group of about ten older members of the Conservative Party along with the local politicians and Nigel himself. Although the process is largely the same in the United States and the United Kingdom there is something about walking the streets with the official you are representing that is a rush. In the States the sheer size of Congressional districts precludes the candidates from physically canvassing the constituency. However the UK benefits from having districts that are 1/10th the size of an U.S. Congressional District and therefore politics has a decidely local feel to it.

Monday, February 15, 2010

The Emerald Isle

A few weeks back I made a weekend trip to Ireland touring both Dublin, and Galway along the Western coast. Despite being majority Irish I have never really felt connected to any particular part of my heritage. I mean I'm English, Irish, Scottish, and Native American. It was really interesting to visit where my ancestors were from though and I now have a much better understanding of Irish-American culture back in the States.

Also had my first hostel experience......not the nicest place in the world but it did the job just fine. At the very least we met a few characters in the process. One that really stood out however was this French girl named Lara. She had been staying in the hostel for three months with no apparent direction and was just sorting out her life after finishing her first year studying philosophy in Paris. She was very nice (despite enjoying Rousseau) but what struck me the most was that she was completely fine living in a hell hole in Dublin no idea what she is going to do with herself. You could never get away with that in the United States, and I cannot quite figure out why. We have a very different attitude about education and more importantly we leave our college educations with so much debt that roaming around for a few years is a financial impossibility. I also think it goes further than that though.

Similarly one of the interns who trained me here in my office has already graduated from University and is doing unpaid work while living at home. Due to student loans and pride most US students want to get jobs and get their own place as quickly as possible after graduation. One of the most interesting aspects of going abroad thus far has been seeing how the role of young adults varies from place to place.