What’s the relation I see between US Democrats and Denmark

Posted: November 8, 2012 by jennroig in Articles, Commentary, English
Tags: , , , , ,

I get it. As Cuban, once you’re out of Cuba, it’s easy to rather embrace any idea that opposes government’s intervention. If you have grown up in a place where the government puts pressure over what ideas should you stand for, intends to dictate where you can go, what job you should take and what profession you should study, and even approve or not what you can say or think, it’s difficult not to fall for the idea that governments should stay as far as possible from my life and business. I wouldn’t like any regulations that remotely ressemble the government minding my business.

I believe that’s a core reason why Cubans in the US have been for so long, in the great majority, a Republican constituency. However, if I could vote in the US, I would vote Democrat.

Then, before so many Cuban friends living in the US will erase me from their contact lists, let me explain.

-First and most importantly, I think Democrats are as close to be communists as Pluto is to the Sun.

That been said, let’s move forward to say that I learnt a few things while I was living in Denmark. That experience kind of made me realize common good doesn’t necessarily means dictatorship and poverty and inefficiency. At the end, during that time it was determined my preference of Democrats over Republicans, at least the kind of nowadays Republicans, politicians who say women who were “legitimately” raped have ways to not get pregnant.

– In Denmark, I learnt that if a whole society contributes to the common good, welfare state works.

– Danes have free access to a high quality education. Including graduate and postgraduate studies. That’s a winning if we are heading towards the “Information” or “Knowledge” Economy.

– In Denmark, health coverage is global, at least in a basic form. Danes may complain about the quality of treatment, but not about unaffordable prices. There has been in fact controversy over the fact that private clinics are taking the best doctors, but still, everybody has access to general physicians for free, and if you buy one day a medicine is expensive, but if you have a chronic condition then the price is symbolic. Imagine what would happen in the US in the case of a serious lethal pandemia, with so many people without coverage holding themselves to visit the doctor?

– I’ve seen the American dream as the opportunity to be free to express my ideas, thoughts and beliefs, and to be able to have a job that supports myself and allow me to help my family. Whether or not I make a million per year or can buy a new car every Christmass hasn’t been the core goal.

– Danes pay high taxes over income, in fact, between 45% and 50% of national GNP comes from tax payers. But everything works perfectly there, roads, subways, bridges; universities are great, as well as libraries, museums are almost for free, and everything might be freaking expensive for a foreigner, Danes have so high wages that even after paying taxes, it’s ok. Once they go to any place as tourists -and they travel a lot!- they feel pretty confy with their purchase power.

– Denmark ranks always high in freedom of press and speech rakings. They are so insanely tolerant, that Neo Nazy Germans go there to broadcast via radio their stupid ideas.

– There’s this official church there, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Denmark, but no one cares whether you believe in something different or you are just an atheist.

– There’s a Danish Royalty, but you don’t see them spending crazy money like their Spanish or British cousins. And for some reason Danes like them.

I’m not saying Denmark is perfect. The weather sucks, to begin with. And Danes have this ridiculous way of saying hello “hej”, without touching each other and if you go and kiss them on the cheek, they look at you like a weird person. Moreover, a friend just explained me that it’s far from been wonderland, and said that in terms of unemployment rates, it’s difficult to grasp the real number as the government camouflages the thing, let’s say if someone looks for a job with a normal wage and can’t find any, then the government will offer the choice for him or her to work in another job making the same money than the unemployment wage rate. Employers find this cool, workers not so much… This is definitely not cool, and I don’t sign for this, but still, it’s an offer not a pistol in your head.

I think Obama sucked in protecting personal liberties, but I also think that making people as loaded as Romney pay higher taxes while cutting a slack to the poorest, it’s no sin, and a better way to move the economy forward.

Finally, I don’t see what’s wrong in wishing everybody can do well. I don’t mean everybody having the same or that there’s anything wrong with someone getting a fortune because of a great idea or hard work, or just being lucky, but I do believe a society does better when less poor people live in it. At least, it’s proven poverty is inversely proportional to violence.

Luckily, according this article, Cuban voters might be changing habits, I hope so.

  1. Jeannette says:

    Very well said! Very well said! Bravo.

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