Election Tension, Election Awareness

Things are getting tense around here, as people warned me they would come election time. Aside from interning on a political campaign while in college and paying some attention to politics back home, I’m not the most politically savvy person. Some would argue that’s because I don’t see the government’s invisible hand in my life, others would say it’s because I’m (willfully) ignorant.

Just this week the Assembly voted to grant the President more power. In light of recent events, I can only wait and see what happens in the near future.

I do know of at least four people who are choosing to leave Venezuela. They are choosing to (e)migrate with the purpose of increasing educational opportunities, professional opportunities, and opportunities for themselves (and their offspring). The majority of them are (im)migrating to the United States. That being said, Venezuela does not have a negative migration rate. There are as many people (e)migrating from the country as there are (im)migrating to the country.

I was chatting with one woman about all of this. She wanted me to understand her mood after the Assembly’s vote. “You can go back home to your country [if the country becomes more destabilized],” she said. “But this is mine.”

I didn’t know how to respond. I never know what to say when I’m honestly reminded of my privilege. So, I do what I always do: I listen and I reflect. When I come home for the holidays I will be reading up on Venezuela’s political and social history. It’s what I should’ve done before I left, but in all honesty I looked at a few articles and added that to the little bit of information I already knew. It wasn’t much when remembering how I had to look on a map after I got the job offer to see where exactly Venezuela was.

I already have two books on my list for the holidays and two others that were given to me before I even left NYC. Any other suggestions are welcome.

My delayed need to learn all ties back to relevance. Relevance is the same item Education professors tell neophyte teachers our lessons need to be if we have any hope of engaging our students. “Make it relevant to them,” is the catchphrase.  Now, after living here for four months, Venezuela is extremely relevant to me.

Naturally, I am more open to learning about its history because history affects the present. Living here also makes it easier to learn because I can attach the new facts and figures I will digest to the conversations, people, and places I visited. Again, it’s the same thing teachers are told to do (activate that prior knowledge!).

This holiday season I will be eating turkey and baked macaroni and cheese (it has to be baked, the rest is not really macaroni and cheese). I will be devouring BBQ the minute my favorite restaurant opens up. I will be calling friends on my cell phone and not via Skype or FaceTime (yea for my old number!) and “staying up under” my mom as we say back home (i.e., not giving her any breathing space).

I will also be closely following the political elections while (hopefully) shaving off another layer of my ignorance.


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