I went to school with a lot of black people….

Believe it or not, the title of this piece is an actual quote of a woman during a recent NPR story when questioned about her leanings for the 08 vote. This gem came out while she denied that she was "racist or whatever you want to call it." Clearly, as you’ll see in a moment, she couldn’t use the infamous refrain, "some of my best friends are…." because she doesn’t know any. We can assume the last black person she knew was someone she went to high school with. Scary but true of the racial divide in modern society.

Later on in the interview this woman mentioned she  is opposed to John McCain but may not cast a vote in this election because "until he [Obama] was nominated for president, I didn’t really think about it [having a black president]. She’s worried that he [Obama] "would only think about his people".

Revealing, shocking, honest, scary commentary from your average American citizen.

Are the majority scared? Do they sniff change in the air?

The world holds its breath…

The Halo Effect

Is being attractive or likeable more important than being smart? 

Watching the US "veep" debates and the hours of analysis later, you might think so.  Apparently designer clothes, winks, kisses, and ‘shoutouts’ are what it takes to win the nation’s hearts and minds these days.

I’m tempted to wash my hands of the whole thing and say that they deserve what they get. But I (although with my campaign addicted husband) can’t look away from the TV. It’s like watching a train wreck or the reason why there is so much rubbernecking on the freeway. Bad news makes you stop, stare, and slow everyone else down.

Sure, I like perkiness. I like audacious claims. I even will use slang during important business meetings to show that I haven’t lost my connection to my ‘block.’ But lately I’m realizing how fallible these tenants of being ‘down to earth’ are. Sometimes it’s okay to be smart. It’s fine to use big words that I learned during graduate school.

Let me make this clear: we all want to see women advance in all fields, all over the world. But not just because they are women. I rejoice when people of color do well. But not just because they are people of color. What happened to liking someone because he or she was competent? Or, dare I say it, the best candidate for the job?

Psychology has proven that there is a ‘halo’ effect. That attractive people get more from life and from those around them. We are friendlier to those we consider attractive, give them more leeway, allow them more time.

Hopefully the American people are aware of this bias for the surface charm and will chose, not based on looks, or likeability, race or even gender, but on rationale, reasonable facts. Only 31 more nail biting days to go to see which wins out.

When it's time to talk to politics

There are rules for polite society – don’t talk about religion, politics, or sex – that lately I have been violating. The primary one being that you don’t talk politics during parties, social gatherings, Monday night football, or lunch at Korean bar-b-que


Yet during our current trip to the US, my husband and I seem to be the only people in our age group not frightened by the supposed eminent threats of higher taxes, more welfare, and the United States being

annihilated by unknown threats.

The fact is, we are both independents, in the much talked about ‘free votes’ group that both parties are scrambling for.  But we are not undecided in this election, 47 days before the big day.

The facts are simple, and yet shockingly missing from the knowledge of the average person in our age group:

America’s number one issue is not ‘security’; a vice presidential candidate who can’t address the doctrine of her own party’s sitting president may not be the ideal number two seat in the country; the great white leader can not continue as a paradigm for a country filled with millions of minorities.

There are a million other issues to chose from to have the headline: the economy, our reputation in the world, cuts in education, millions without health care etc. etc.

Please – get informed on the issues! And vote. This will be the closest election ever (including the much famed disputed one of recent years) and I am very afraid for the future of my adopted country.