Happy 4th America!

I’ve liked to criticize America for a while now. I still do. Freedom of speech is a great thing, and should be used toward growth as often as possible. And growth doesn’t always mean change, but that’s a whole different discussion.

I expected my time in Africa would make me more bitter about the things this country doesn’t have vs the those we take for granted. And yeah, I gained perspective on what it is to live in and among poverty. It’s often so hopeless. But spending time in Togo has helped surprisingly reconcile me to my country. I certainly understand what it is now simply to have access to everything from clean air to roads that are actually flat. I learned that having money in America is different even than having money here, because there is simply more possibility for service, business, and class mobility. We have so much.

But one thing I did not expect to like more after time spent here was American politics. Yep. This is about politics. I usually don’t care to follow politics because they tire me (but i do cuz its important! vote!). And though our power over our leaders is limited, they do eventually have to listen to us. I mean to an extent anyways.

There is technically a president here. His father was president before him, and no one really believes he’ll step down in a few days at the end of his legally appointed term of a decade. Our translator isn’t voting, but its not because he’s uninterested. He refuses to give any of the candidates a vote since they are all corrupt. Oops. These politicians will answer to no one unless the people follow the Egyptian model and make him. Now, I don’t think that’s going to happen. No one complains. Corrupt and godless politicians are a fact of life like malaria and uneven roads in this country. Stability was only reached in 2005, and I don’t think anyone is ready to mess that up.

The police are similarly corrupt. They don’t make enough to live on, so they can get bribes with impunity. No one can do anything, since the law enforcement are the perpetrators.

There is a reason so many people want to get to America.

I’m not terribly educated on Togolese politics, though I want to know more before I leave. But I am grateful for what I’ve learned here. It has blessed my thinking and my whole conception of American politics. So HAPPY AMERRICA DAY!