Political Kid

political kid

Today I was out on the street taking some pictures. My camera starting giving me trouble (the thing is 4 years old, and it’s starting to go), so I stopped on the sidewalk and was trying to get it to work right.

As I stood there, this little boy walked by with his dad. A few moments passed, and I saw in my peripheral vision that the little boy had turned around and come back, and was hovering a few feet away from me. He was working up the courage to use English to talk to a foreigner. Finally he did, and the ensuing dialogoue went something like this:

Kid: Hello!

Me: Hello.

Kid: Are you American?

Me: Yes.

Kid: Bush win Kerry. It is a big news. You know?

Me: Yes, I know.

Kid: You like Bush?

Me: No, I hate Bush.

Kid: You hate Bush?

Me: Yes. Do you like Bush?

Kid: No, I hate Bush.

The conversation then went the usual rounds of other topics, and he let me take his picture. I’m sure his dad put him up to it (unless his English class just finished the “2004 American Presidential Election” chapter), but still… very surreal.

Disclaimer: this is a post about a conversation with a Chinese boy, not a political statement on my part. I was just being truthful about what I said to the boy.


John Pasden

John is a Shanghai-based linguist and entrepreneur, founder of AllSet Learning.


  1. Da Xiangchang Says: November 6, 2004 at 11:13 pm

    John: I hate Bush.

    Political Kid: You hate Bush?

    John: Yes. Do you like Bush?

    Political Kid: No, I hate Bush.

    Me: Doesn’t matter if you hate or love Bush. He’s going to be Prez till 2008, and there’s nothing either of you can do about it. Nanny-nanny-neh-neh!

  2. Da Xiangchang,

    Not exactly true. I can stay in China.

  3. Anonymous Says: November 7, 2004 at 1:08 am

    Or the Democrats could take a page out of the Republican playbook and immediately begin trying to impeach Bush. I’m 100% sure that if Kerry were elected, the push to impeach him would have already begun. Republicans are simply better at attack-dog politics than Democrats.

  4. Don’t think they’d go that far. How do you think the country would feel about the electoral process if either party did that? They’d lose faith in the system and both parties would fall. It’s hard to say this, but I truly think if Kerry won the electoral college, Bush would have conceded fair and square.

  5. “They’d lose faith in the system and both parties would fall.”

    What’s wrong with that? Your phrasing “both parties” just goes to show that the system doesn’t work. The only choices in this election were an ultra-right-wing Christian Coalition conservative and a slightly-left-of-ultra-right-wing Christian conservative. Where were the Greens? The Socialists? The Libertarians? Where were the moderates? Simple answer: there aren’t any. The corporate duopoly doesn’t allow any real choices, and just puts up a new republicrat every four years so the public feels like they have a say in what’s happening. The electoral process is broken, and the sooner it’s exposed, the sooner we can start fixing it.

    “It’s hard to say this, but I truly think if Kerry won the electoral college, Bush would have conceded fair and square.”

    Umm…if Kerry won the electoral college it wouldn’t matter if Bush conceded or not. You don’t have to concede to lose.

    John – told you your disclaimer wouldn’t work.

  6. I second that emotion. The people I know here all share a feeling of disgust for four more years of Dubya. How can 59,054,087 people be so dumb???

  7. Brad, I agree totally the system is broken. We now have 49% of Americans not represented by our government.

  8. I just feel it’s cool that John goes to lengths to keep politics out of sinosplice. Even when political ideas are aired, he includes a disclaimer. That’s awesome. Politics is an interesting kettle of fish because it has the tendency to make everybody leave their intelligence by the side of the road and argue, hate, bitch slap…whatever. Heh, again, I just think it’s cool that you work so hard to keep the politics out of your site John. If I possess the power to commend, I commend you.

  9. Anonymous Says: November 7, 2004 at 4:41 am

    They’d lose faith in the system and both parties would fall.

    I don’t remember that happening after the House Republicans spent 2 years trying to impeach Bill Clinton and even basically accused him of murder (Vince Foster). I’m not saying the Democratic party is more moral than the Republican party or anything like that. I’m just saying the Democratic party is more inept and less viscious in some ways. Karl Rove, Newt Gingrich, Tom Delay, and Co. just start kicking harder when you’re down. They have a scorched-earth mentality, which is effective politically, but is pretty bad for the country in the long run.

  10. hehe, writing anything about politics and hoping a disclaimer would keep Da XiangChang et al quiet is funny John.

  11. Brad,

    I agree with what you’re saying, but think about who controls our system? Two parties. Are they going to want to change the way things work? No. They want to stay in power, so of course they do everything in their power as long as either Republicans or Democrats retain power. Thus, all this talk about “reaching across the isle,” etc.

    This is why Kerry conceded the election without forcing us to go through what happend in 2000. Bush won the electoral college, it was clear on Wednesday morning, but Kerry conceded regardless to show that he was not going to challenge the result. I think Bush would have done the same thing.

  12. After JFK and LBJ (these were conservatives back then), the demoncrats have lost focus, vision, or organization. Bill clinton and Tip O’Neilal were the only exceptions, but Bill had DNA on some blue dress. If Gore or Kerry had followed Clinton’s direction and aligned them more to the center, the country would have been 2/3 blue. When you fight the far right by arming only the far left, is it any wonder the country splits in the middle? The 1% offset that elected bush was entirely from Kerry’s bad luck.

  13. Disclaimers are for the weak. You have opinions, air them and then stand behind them. Besides, disclaimer or no, you did make a political statement (though I understand that was your primary intention).

  14. Hey John,
    Reminds me of a conversation i had with a young boy in Hangzhou.

    He comes running out from behind the counter at a store on the west lake. Asks me:

    Boy: Are you american?
    Me: No I’m australian
    Boy: Hey mum! this man is from australia
    Boy: Thats strange!
    Me: Why is that strange?
    Boy: I think Australia is a place without people.
    Me: Maybe thats because we are all overseas?
    Boy: … eh?
    Boy: how can you speak my languge?
    Mum: son leave that man alone..

    Interesting that my home is perceived to be devoid of life..

    Good to see you still posting..

  15. I think the Bush legacy will eventually rival that of Reagan. Reagan’s most significant achievement has nothing to do with the Cold War (he didn’t end it, but merely carried out to conclusion US foreign policy objectives initiated in the Truman administration). So what was it? A near-complete transformation of federal judiciary philosophy through his appointments of very conservative judges throughout the federal level. Bush Sr continued this policy, the effects of which are still strongly felt some 20+ years later.

    Dubya will appoint at least 3, and perhaps as many as 5 Supreme Court judges in his second term. This will change the very fabric of American law and life for the next several decades. It does not bode well for anyone who champions civil liberties, and I can’t help but feel that dark, dark days are ahead.

  16. About the disclaimer…

    Seems only Chris B understood the point. The point was to assure people that I’m not changing my policy of keeping political topics off my blog.

    The entry about voting was mainly to remind (especially expats) people to vote; I felt it was extremely important, so I made an exception.

    This one I wanted to share because I think it makes an interesting little story.

    Now that the election is over, though, and things are going back to normal, don’t expect more politics on Sinosplice.

  17. Sorry John to keep the thread going but…

    Prince Roy: How will Bush appoint 3 to 5 judges?! The only time judges are appointed are when someone leaves (Rehnquist looks to be on the way out) or when they die. I think Bush will make one appointment, 2 tops. Also remember that these appointments have to be approved by the Senate. This means they are subject to filibuster by any senator, and if there’s enough clout, the appointment can be struck down, even if Republicans hold the majority.

    Gin, How has Kerry appealed to the far left? He supports the war. He opposes gay marriage (yes, he says this every time its brought up). There are pictures of him goosehunting pandering to the NRA crowd. All of these stances are his attempts at appealing to the middle. Howard Dean is a candidate that appeals to the left/far left, but he never made it to the ticket because of this. The Democratic party thought that by “being above the fray” they would have been able to move the middle to their side.

  18. Wulong:

    Rehnquist is sick, and is 80 years old. He will likely retire.

    O’Connor is 74 and wanted to retire during Bush’s first term; only the Court’s much maligned Bush v. Gore decision kept her from doing so. Now that Bush actually won a presidential election, my feeling is she will step down.

    Stevens is 84. As the Court’s most liberal justice, he’ll hang on as long as possible. Only an incapacitating illness or death can remove him from the Court. As far as quality of legal reasoning goes, I admire him the most, but time is running out.

    I think the three above will not last out Bush’s term.

    Ginsburg is 71, but she is in poor health.

    So Bush could appoint as many as four new justices.

  19. Da Xiangchang Says: November 8, 2004 at 12:14 am

    The funny thing is I agree that overly arguing about politics is getting boring. My idea now is that some people are just too stupid to reason with so why should I waste my time? Because no matter how much you whine and moan, Bush is still President, and to repeat myself, There’s NOTHING–ABSOLUTELY NOTHING–you can do about it to change this fact. You can bitch about the Supreme Court, bitch about the electoral college, rant about (nonexistent) voter intimidation, dream about a (pipedream) revolution that will overthrow America–all of this means jack shit. Because when you turn on the TV or read the news today, Bush is still President and again, THERE’S NOTHING YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT. Deal with it, and then head off to that place that both John Kerry and John Edwards are residing in: the ash heap of history.

  20. the ash heap of history.

    Unfortunately, that is where we are all headed under Bush’s “leadership.”

  21. Da Xianchang, are you one of those (I think 2) professed Chinese-American commentors over at the Free Republic? (I use the term hesitantly because they themselves prefer American-American and don’t believe in multiculturualism) You certainly remind me of them.

  22. greg pasden Says: November 8, 2004 at 3:32 am

    Hurray! Bush won!!!

  23. Prince Roy, Ok, assuming that 3-4 need to be appointed during Bush’s 4-year term, it’s not the end of the world. Whether or not you believe in the political system, it does have checks and balances. I don’t think it will be the end of the world if Bush gets to appoint 3-4 new judges. As I said before, the Senate will be there to balance out the conservative picks Bush makes.

  24. Dumb question #1: Why does America only have two parties? (I’m serious, it seems kind of odd to me that such a huge country only has 2 — well seems to — it’s almost communist heheh).

    — uninformed NZer

  25. Alex:: in China, most of my conversations with randoms on the street went something along the lines of: Where are you from? New Zealand. Followed by a confused look. Is that in Europe? No, Asia (I don’t know how to say Pacific in Chinese). Another confused look. Ok, (I’m avoiding mentioning Australia) it’s next to Australia. Recognition… Oh it’s part of Australia!! NO, I stress, next to Australia. Sometimes this is followed by, Where’s Australia — to which one old woman informed her employee: It’s in Malaysia!

    It seems our finer points of distinction are lost overseas. New Zealand is reduced to a colony of OZ.

    PS everyone seems to know that NZ has 50 Million sheep and only 4 million people. They imagine us walking around in the city with thousands of sheep stopped at the traffic lights.

  26. Da Xiangchang Says: November 8, 2004 at 10:18 am


    No, I’ve never read Free Republic. I occasionally read National Review, but always with extreme skepticism (the same amount of skepticism I have toward a really leftwing rag like the NY Times). You must assume I’m some sort of rightwing nut, but that’s not true. I don’t belong to any political party (I’m a registered non-partisan), and really, really despise the Christian right. In fact, if you were to see the 2004 election, it’s absolutely horrible what Bush and Karl Rove took to win–they shamelessly played the gay card to get the Jesus-freak vote. Since I wholeheartedly believe in gay marriage, that sucks. So do Republican positions on abortion, stem-cell research, and a bunch of other crap. I will NEVER belong to the Republican party because it’s a party of many people who would probably want to deport me and my whole family if given the chance.

    However, if there’s one thing I abhor more than a Bible-thumper, it’s most liberals. Modern liberalism is morally and intellectually bankrupt–both of these facts became increasingly clear to me post-9/11. Some liberals, of course, make valid arguments. For example, Prince Roy’s concerns are completely valid. Do you want Roe v. Wade overturned, which almost certainly will be the case under a Bush Supreme Court? Prince Roy is someone you can actually have an intelligent conversation with. However, others, especially some on this blog, are so far gone to the left as to be virtually braindead. They’re just automatically sprouting out “corporate duopoly” because they think it sounds intelligent, when it’s really just mindless Marxist cliches. I don’t despise them; I pity them. They’re so out of it, it’s not even funny.

    And yes, I DESPISE multiculturalism. It’s identity politics, something those glorified welfare recipients–i.e., “civil rights activists”–promote to further divide America for their own monetary benefit. “Asian-American organizations” don’t speak for me, that’s for damn sure. Fuck them and the boat they came in on.

  27. Wulong,

    it will only take 50 senators to confirm a Bush pick. In the rare chance of a tie, Cheney will certainly go with Bush. The GOP gained 4 Senate seats.

  28. Funny… a 10 year old Chinese kid can figure it out but 59 million Americans can’t. Bunch of dumbasses.

  29. Wulong,

    To answer you briefly in the spirit of allowing minimal politics on John’s site, it matters not what you say, it matters every bit how you say it. The democrats ruled Dean out, but right before the first debate when Kerry had no directions many suggested pick a theme, anything, and stick to it, what did he pick—the Iraq war. That was not unemployment, not the deficit, not much about the economical future of the country. And on the Iraqi war issue, he couldn’t fight it right. He went at it from every angle and favored the leftest of them all: wrong war, call in other countries. Why couldn’t he make the divergence of focus from capturing Bin la Din the central and only criticism of the Iraqi war? Why didn’t he call the Iraqi war a settling of old scores? Clinton this year would have done a “it’s the job outsourcing, stupid.” But with Kerry the whole unemployment thing became just one of statistical numbers he barks out. He even tried to imbed it in the Iraq argument: “Bush outsourced Bin la Din to the Afghan warlords.” If he intended to be funny it did not click at all.

    Sensationalizing the Stem Cell issue was a poor choice in my opinion but there he could have taken advantage of Bush’s far right position and played an inclusive strategy. Instead he only said blandly I support that research.

    On drug imports he also blandly took the far out left but I believe this issue energized big pharma money for Bush.

    Gay marriage was not his choosing but this year he should have taken a fifth. It has been said that back when SF mayor granted those gay marriage licenses, Kerry had already been handed the election defeat.

    Teresa Heinz Kerry said Laura Bush never had a real job and later apologized that yes she did have a librarian’s position. This, coupled with Kerry himself mumbling on about his strong mother when asked to comment on his strong wife, also handed Kerry a defeat among the swing-vote block of married women who take pride in calling housewife as a fulltime job, who also knows firsthand how terrible a mother-in-law can be.


    I have shorten the political ranting considerably but…

    Now to switch to this nonpolitical posting of yours, what would the political kid answer/do IF:

    1) You did not have that Hershey’s bar dangling from your long fingers?

    2) You hypothetically said you loved Bush?

    3) Da Xiangchang came along and spoke his mind to the kid?

  30. That was from me, Gin.

  31. “Tian gao,
    huangdi yuan”

  32. “And yes, I DESPISE multiculturalism. It’s identity politics, something those glorified welfare recipients–i.e., “civil rights activists”–promote to further divide America for their own monetary benefit. “Asian-American organizations” don’t speak for me, that’s for damn sure. Fuck them and the boat they came in on.”

    Xiangchanghead, please give us some examples on how Asian Americans are welfare recipients and promoting to further divide America.
    What’s wrong with Asian American organizations specifically?

  33. Last comment…

    Prince Roy, yes, but any senator can filibuster and force the appointment dropped. 60 votes are needed to stop a filibuster, so if an appointment is opposed strongly enough by the democratic party, the 55 republican senators won’t be able to stop it.

    Gin, right, but how does that appeal to the far left? I was disagreeing with your first point which was that Kerry was trying to appeal the far left too much; it’s clear he throughout the race that he was going after the center.

  34. Sorry I lied, this is my last post 🙂

    Here’s a good example of a filibuster recently (2003).

    Estrada’s nomination by Bush was struck down in the Republican controlled senate by a Democratic filibuster.

  35. gin, just re-read your post, ignore my comment.

    I still stand by what I said; the far left doesn’t really look to Kerry as the spokesperson for their ideals. I think the lukewarm support from the left/far left was one of the reasons he lost.

  36. Anonymous Says: November 8, 2004 at 5:19 pm

    ¡°head off to that place that both John Kerry and John Edwards are residing in: the ash heap of history.¡±

    God, I wish I had said that!

    “Hurrah Bush won!”

    I also wish I had said that!

    “Shut up with your bitchin’ and moanin’ about Kerry losing. Bush won because Kerry for all his pomp and demeanor, couldn’t make a stand on EXACTLY what he would do if he won the election. There was a great sense of ambiguity from him and judging by the voters who voted for him that was good enough. But stability and a sense of where one stands–for better or for worse–WON THE ELECTION for Bush.”

    Okay, I said that. You should have told the little guy, “We vote–you don’t. Now, go ramble off to a Young Pioneers Rally!’

  37. Prince Roy at-large Says: November 8, 2004 at 6:41 pm


    filibusters are risky business. the dems may be a bit too timid to try that given the margin of Bush’s victory in the popular vote. they were braver in the first term, where not only did he lose the popular vote, but he was seen by many as an appointed president. no one can make that argument this time, and so the dems will have to very carefully weigh the costs.

    i agree that the borks of the judicial world don’t have much of a shot, but there are plenty of scalias in the wings, and he sailed through confirmation 98-0.

  38. wulong said:

    Sorry John to keep the thread going but…

    and later said:

    Sorry I lied, this is my last post 🙂


    And that goes for all of you.

  39. Li Jiang,

    “Tian gao, huangdi yuan” Minzhu wu zhangcheng.

    And the Internet, of course, is a mess.

  40. Da Xiangchang Says: November 9, 2004 at 12:52 am

    The problems with Asian-American organizations are many:

    1) They presume to speak for all Asians in America, which is ridiculously arrogant and self-important. After all, most of these organizations are just made up of a couple of pissed-off idiots writing letters. Since most of their causes are intellectually stillborn–“let’s protest Shaq cuz . . . cuz he insulted the dignity of Asians worldwide!”–I want nothing to do with them.

    2) They’re linked by “race”–after all, we’re talking about “Asian” and not “Japanese” or “Chinese,” etc.–and any organization based on race is stupid. Americans should see themselves as first and foremost Americans, and not play identity politics a la the Balkans or Rwanda! (Now, I have NOTHING against, say, a “Chinese-American” organization since they’re based on a common background, history, culture; I, in fact, applaud such organizations.)

    3) They’re an extension of the Democratic Party, and like I said, the modern Democratic Party is morally and intellectually bankrupt. The fact that they swooned over a shameless gold-digger whose value system is entirely poll-driven should clue you in on their current decrepitude.

    I could go on, but I’ll stop.

  41. I’m not a democrat, nor am I liberal persay. Heck im not even an American citizen, but I can recognize that Da Xiangchang is pretty far out of it. The litanies he posts are essentially the fruition of the Republican revolution of the mid 90’s, righteous angry spleen designed to overwhelm rational discourse, with an arguement fashioned from the faux common-sense of the mythical every-man. Seriously, you have a stick stuck so far up your rear that you’d get splinters in your nose if you sneeze.

    In regards to the whole pointless rant about Asian-American organizations, you are under the mistaken assumption that “identity-politics” is only defined by the parameters of race. I assure you that this is not the case and all politics in a democratic society to one degree or another is identity politics. Although the merits of the cohesiveness of an Asian-American community are debateable, it is irrelevant. Asian-American organizations serve a purpose, as that of a competing civil interest group(oh noes, evil interest groups!). Oorganizations like them are fundamental for the functioning of a liberal(theres that word again) democratic society where power must neccessarily be decentralized and competing interests balance each other out. They may not represent you, but they do represent the aspirations of their constituents in wanting to be a part of socio-political apparatus. To borrow from your rhetorical phrasebook, if you don’t like it, tough and fuck you on the boat you came in on.

    p.s. I don’t even like mainstream Asian-American organizations, at least not the ones im familiar with. They are a bit yuppieish, but they serve a purpose.

    p.p.s. Civil Rights Activists = glorified Welfare recipients? Please refer back to my stick/ass metaphor.

    p.p.p.s. I think your last post essentially betrayed your real vendetta, that you presume Asian-American organizations vote Democrat. Unfortunately in your rush to categorize them as such, you failed to realize that the term Asian-American is a fairly large umbrella of disparate groups all with their own competing aspirations. For example, just look at the Vietnamese community. There are many such Vietnamese organizations that are almost always exclusively vote Republican due to the simple fact of the Vietnam war. They are quite a powerful political force in local Californian politics.

  42. Anonymous Says: November 9, 2004 at 7:06 am

    DXC is an idiot

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