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Which America am I living in?



May 6, 2007

For those of us who speak English as a second language, learning never ends. But I have been fortunate enough to have Dorabelle as a coach.

Dorabelle and I have a special relationship. She helps me with English and I provide her with her favorite cookie.

Our relationship began a long time ago when I asked Dorobelle how to punctuate the following sentence:

"Woman without her man is nothing".

Dorabelle replied, "That all depends who your audience is."

Me: "What difference does that make?"

Dorabelle: "Big difference... this is America. If you are talking to Rush Limbaugh and company, your sentence should read: "Woman, without her man, is nothing."

Me: "What if my audience is Oprah Winfrey & company?"

Dorabelle: "Then your sentence should read: Woman! Without her, man is nothing!"

Me: "How interesting, how revealing... the presidential candidate John Edwards was right-there are two Americas."

Dorabelle: "But John Edwards hasn't told you which America he lives in."

ME: "Well-wouldn't you agree Dorabelle, that we live in an America that lets anyone run for president? We've got Obama, Hillary Clinton and Romney running campaigns for the highest office in the land-it looks like race, sex and religion play no part in access to American power."

Dorabelle: "Not so fast-remember-they all have to be over 35, born in America, have name recognition, and of course, have a billion dollars to spend.

ME: "Come on , which America am I living in then? The billion dollar America? Something's gone wrong with American democracy -- and our democracy is something we brag about all over the world. Don't Americans know for example that Abe Lincoln-one of the most beloved of all presidents spent only $100,000 to get elected in 1860?"

Dorabelle: "Yes, that's true but in those days we didn't have radio, TV, 24 hour cable news and the Internet... ..And one more thing -- Lincoln also did not want God to be at his side-he preferred to be on God's side. Now-you tell me-could any of today's candidates for president afford this kind of publicity? Could they take the heat? In 2004, President George Bush spent $367 million for his election. John Kerry spent $328 million and -he lost. That is the America you live in today."

ME: "But Dorabelle, I thought this was a FREE country."

Dorabelle: "Yes-it is a free country-but it requires dollars and good sense." Comment

Jalil Mortazavi is a freelance writer and author of What I Learned In America.

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