National Some people say, “Well I’m too busy.” No you’re not.
What did you mean by that? Well, it was somewhat of an acci $+-8%:# 82,;# ,-80# 3"# 52'8# +:+/8+$# 075/+4# '0# here I was at 32, elected as District Attorney 80#(+%$#%-#+<+/)8,1+#075/+#,-#*01+2-3+-84# and then for most of the rest of my working life, I was my own boss. And, if you’ve been "0)2#0&-#@0''#702#%#:0-*#8,3+4#,8'#$,75/):84#,7# not impossible, to turn around and work for somebody. You know when President Bush used the sort of inartful term, that he was “The Decider,” that’s actually true. It would @+#$,75/):8#702#3+#80#')@A)*%8+#3"#@+:,+7#02# my opinion to someone else. In the role of Vice President, you have to toe the line, and although its gotten me in a lot of trouble in my political career, although its also been the source of my continuing popularity, I tell the truth. Well the President doesn’t want a Vice President—and I don’t want to be a Vice President that’s disloyal to the President. So I think one of the most impor tant things in life, as well as politics, is that you’ve got to know yourself, and you’ve got to make decisions that are consistent with who you, are and what you believe in, and what you want to do. I just don’t think id be a good Number Two man.
Sometimes a politician has a policy that might go against the moral compass of their constituents. How would you justify a policy that might go against this? Well, it’s very hard to accurately gauge what the moral compass of your constituents is. And one person’s moral compass is 180 degrees away from another person’s moral compass. Well which moral compass is right? You have to make a deci sion on that. The most important thing I would say to you is, in almost every deci sion you make, there are almost no black and white decisions, everything is gray, and you’re choosing among alternatives.
!"# $%# &"'()(*%'*# +)*,# -"./(%012# 3'4# *)5%# to give back, and stay active politically— it’s the only way to effect and create real change in the political system. Is there anything you think you would be doing if you weren’t in politics? Well, in two years, it’s likely I wont be in politics, and what id like to do, is increase teaching, because I think teaching is public service. I do the sports television, which is fun—I want to do more of that. Id like to head up a foundation, I’d like to maybe write a book about my experiences. It wouldn’t be a serious book; I’d try to make it a funny book, which uses humor as a teaching vehicle. And then I’d probably like to set up a law practice where I take on interesting cases for people who are very challenged. So could I have done some of those things without having been Mayor or D01+2-02#52'84#;20@%@:"#-084#@)8#8(+2+#%2+# a lot of things I could have done. There are all sorts of ways to serve, and there’s a ton of ways to give back.
Would you like to give any advice to Penn students about life in general? Well, be true to yourself. Don’t try to force yourself into doing something that you’re not going to be comfortable with. I consider myself extremely lucky—I’ve spent basically 95% of my life in jobs helping ;+0;:+# %-$# ,8B'# %# 8+22,5/# 7++:,-*=# C02# 8(0'+# people who don’t get that feeling directly 7203# 8(+,2# A0@4# 9# %:&%"'# 8+::# 8(+3# 80# 5-$# time to do some sort of volunteer work.
American Politics Through South African Lenses Abroad student discusses the ‘change’ Obama has brought to South Africans’ perceptions of the US
By Elena Stein
understanding the enigma of South Africa was learning about the complexities of my own country. The experience brought forth a question many Americans have had to ask themselves while traveling abroad: Are we the exemplar for social, economic, political,
On my second day in the coun try, a new acquaintance began drilling me his past semester, I had the opportu about American aggression in Iraq. I con nity to study in South Africa, a coun sidered providing some information on try whose economic, political, and social the US’s nominal reasons for entering the dynamics have been woven in the legacy region before settling on something less of apartheid. I struggled to make confrontational. “Not all Americans '+-'+# 07# 8(+# 52'8# &02:$# ,-72%'82)/ 6"/# 7%/,87(# *,%# 3/(*# *)5%2# 5-# &08((58*%(# align themselves with American for ture amid third world development found my opinion on world affairs eign policy,” I offered. “Oh really?” problems, how one of the most pro worthwhile. he retorted. “So you didn’t agree with gressive constitutions in the world the US’s decision to bomb the World could yield such undemocratic politics, and religious freedom? Or are we the hege Trade Center?” and the invisibility of the HIV epidemic. All mon who directs international institutions It continued like this for the this was set amid the backdrop of endless in our own interest and arms the tyrants -+<8# 51+# 30-8('=# >8# 8(+# ?-,1+2',8"# 07# kilometers of radiant coastline that wind we chase, cloaking our foreign policy in the Cape Town, I sat in on a threeday lecture and twine from the Indian to the Atlantic, a mask of humanitarianism? series on the United States, where a bleak, stark contrast to the crime, corruption, and I never posed those questions humorless lecturer actually had the class racial tensions. aloud. But South Africans gave me their in stitches over how hypocritical, or even But even more fascinating than answers everyday. callous, our foreign policy sounded. Occa
The Soapbox, March 2009