I like to close out my weekend every Sunday night at 9PM by turning on CSPAN and watching the UK Prime Ministers Questions session in the House of Commons. I really enjoy the passion and the exchange of barbs between the PM and leader of the opposition, in addition to the members of the house. I have always thought that we here in the US are wrong by not having a similar event each week in the house of representatives, with the President and his cabinet. In my mind, it lets the politicians blow off steam at each other, which is always fun to watch, please it keeps them on their tows by having constituents keep in touch with their congressmen in the hope that whatever issue, however trivial it may seem, may get raised and addressed. Secondly, with the President, his cabinet, and the representatives all there, it would, it seems to me make them more accountable for policies; to correct any failures, defend any positions, and who knows, maybe even a fresh idea or two may come out of it. One thing I am almost positive would come out of it; people would get a greater interest in their government, and start more active participation in it.
Something struck me last night as I was watching it. During one part, a remark was made regarding the number of candidates running for office in a particular district. The Speaker of the House, John Bercow, made a joke that “Sara Palin….at least she is not a candidate for…” as a response to yelling from one of the back benchers Now lets face it; with the exception of when she was candidate for VP, she really hasn’t been a major world political player; looked on sometimes as something of a joke domestically (of which i have views on that, but later) but internationally, no. It impressed me to no end that those across the pond are familiar with political players and issues in the US, but we here have much less of an idea of what is happening in Europe, Canada and the rest of the world. (and i would gather that a good portion of the population here dont know who their congressional representatives and senators are, not to mention their representatives at the state level) That is just plain sad. I wish that our domestic news organizations and schools would pay closer attention to what is happening in the rest of the world. The BBC is a perfect model. On their website they have links for the US and Canada, Asia, Europe, the Middle East etc. You go to CNN world edition and they are not even close. The BBC covers issues and goes into depth on them as if they were local issues. At the very least, I would hope that the schools would use the BBC as a basis for lesson for current events. In this world economy and shrinking globe due to social networking, we cant afford not to be in touch with what is happening.
I realize that this turned into a two-pronged blog, but I do feel passionately about both of them. If we had a US version of Questions/Answers, it could only improve things with our trust and maintaining accountability of the government, and we need to dump our isolationist world view, as it were.