I always try to give Americans the benefit of the doubt, because I've met many bright and worldly Americans over the years. But it doesn't matter where you go; you're always going to run into people with bizarre views in a country of 300 million people. I think the difference between the US and Canada is that a lot of these quirky people with outlandish beliefs end up on the radio in America. It seems that every time I listen to talk shows in the US, I hear opinions that sometimes strike a nerve in me; whether it's pure ignorance, bigoted comments, or extremist religious views.
When I was driving to hockey last Thursday I was listening to a Buffalo NY radio station (WBEN 930). I was listening to the 2008 Republican National Convention and I was waiting to hear John McCain's speech. While waiting for John McCain I was listening to the Ron Dobson show. Dobson made a comment that I completely disagreed with (His opinion wasn't bigoted or racist, I just didn't agree with him). He was of the opinion that John McCain's running-mate Sarah Palin should perhaps be running for President while John McCain should be the Vice President. He thought this on account that Sarah Palin had more "executive" experience than John McCain because she was the Governer of by far the largest state in the USA. He also suggested that she is better qualified for President because she has more "Foreign Policy" experience than McCain because her state borders both Russia and Canada, and that she is the head of the National Guard for Alaska.
I was dumbfounded that he would actually think that she is qualified to be President with her limited experience, and his reasons were even more inexplicable to me. I actually disagreed with him so much that I called into his show to state my opinion on the matter. Normally I don't like to talk on the phone while I'm driving on the highway, but I believed that this warranted it.
So I called in and got on the air quickly and I told Dobson that I disagreed with him for the following reasons:
- Palin has only been the Governer of Alaska for 2 years
- Despite it's size in land mass, Alaska has a very small population (The whole state has the same population as the City of Mississauga - around 600,000)
- Palin has zero foreign policy experience, and she didn't have a passport her entire life until she visited members of the Alaska National Guard in Germany and Kuwait in 2007 after she became Governer
- Prior to being Governer, Palin was the Mayor of a town of only 7,000 people (Wasilla Alaska)
At the end of our conversation, he commented that I'm not even from the USA... (I got the impression that he doesn't get Canadian callers very often). But as I’ve said in the past, US elections can have dramatic and long-lasting effects on the entire world, so it’s in everybody’s interests to be aware of what’s happening.
Sarah Palin is a strong lady and definitely a born leader, but she’ll need to get more under her belt before I’d agree with any claim that she’s fit to be a President. But then again, I disagree with her on many important issues, so you probably wouldn’t see me wagging any Sarah Palin banners even if she did have more experience.