By Apee Ojulu, USA - At 6 pm, on Wednesday, August 15, 2012, I received a call from a telephone number that reads “private.” I hesitated to answer the call given the fact that telephone calls like that often are telemarketing or a call from unfriendly person. After a while, however, I went ahead and answered it anyway. I heard the voice but I did not hear a name. She just said” my name …. I’m calling from the President Obama Campaign here in St. Paul. Having volunteered in the past, we want to invite you to volunteer.” I was happy to hear that. “What can I do to help the president win the elections?” I said. She said you just come and join us in calling our supporters to attend a rally by Vice President Joe Bidden.” I was energized to hear and I agreed to go. On Saturday, August 18, 2012, from 10:00 A.M to 1:00 P.M, we were making calls to democratic supporters through out the Metropolitan area.
My fascination with the U.S. elections is based on what Aristotle defines as a proper role for a citizen. Aristotle defines citizen as someone who can both participate in duties (deliberations & judicial, his actual words) of state as well as defend the state from foreign aggressions. Thus a citizen is someone who has the right to participate in governing the state and the obligations to defend it. The U.S. affords such ideas to its citizens; one is free to run for any office and one has the obligation to participate in defending the state.
I have taken this to my heart since I have arrived here. After I obtained my U.S. Citizenship in 2003, I have not only been voting in elections, but I have also been volunteering in organizing actual political party events. My deep taste of organizing was with Margaret Anderson Kelliher for MN governor. Mrs. Kelliher was the Speaker of Minnesota House of Representatives from 2007 to 2011. She was very influential in Minnesota politics and very kind person who decided at the time she wanted to move on to the State mansion.
I was recruited and served on her campaign as a member of Policy Group. Our job was to do research and write policies for the campaign. In 2008, I did some volunteer work when then Senator Barak Obama was running for U.S. presidency. As democrats, our job was to promote him to move on and win his elections. The process was very rewarding and I enjoyed it so much.
Why join the Democratic Party? My philosophy in joining Democratic Party is not extreme partisanship or on charged social issues, but informed more by my view on political economy. In what economists describe as the Big Three in economics – That are Karl Marx, Adam Smith and John Maynard Keynes, I share only the view of John Maynard Keynes’s view on what is the proper role for the government in economy. Our U.S. Republic Party takes most of its ideas from Adam Smith and our Democratic Party takes most of its ideas from John Maynard Keynes.
I’m not a fan of Adam Smith of pure free market. It does not appeal to my sense. Ruthless free market like what is in Somali right now does not provide sound system. Individuals must be allowed to accumulate wealth as much as they are able to, but at the same time they must be checked by the government entity that is neutral and act on behalf of all citizens. Government should not be idle in the face of economic challenges. That makes me more close to John Maynard Keynes. His view that the government must be active in economy in providing public infrastructure and other necessities to its citizens is very appealing.
Apee Ojulu writes two columns each week termed “living purposeful life.” His columns appear Tuesdays and Saturdays. He welcomes comments on this topic. Send your comments to his e-mail-address: firstname.lastname@example.org and he will post them under this column.