Page Forrest (C’17) is a junior at Sewanee, studying abroad in Edinburgh, Scotland this semester. She serves as Managing Editor of the Purple, and will be writing a regular column for the paper while she is away.
For those of you who know me, it’s probably not surprising to learn I’ve had a hard time distancing myself from American politics while here. Going into the semester, I thought I’d take a break, become immersed in Scottish politics, and not get caught up in the American presidential election until next year. With 15 Republican candidates left — and 4 Democrats as of today (Sorry, Jim Webb) — we definitely have a ways to go before the national conventions. Of course, there’s a good chance Joe Biden could enter the race in between now and when this is published, which will just prolong the process. (I reread this article the day after I wrote it and Biden had already declared he wasn’t running.) Needless to say, I haven’t done a great job staying away from the subject.
However, the longer I intern with the Parliament, the more I realize that American politics and policy are more relevant to my job than I thought. Members of the Scottish Parliament are currently addressing the TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership,) which is the European companion to the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership.) Having taken several less-than-polite (to put it nicely) phone calls this summer regarding the TPP while working for my Congressman, I’m not incredibly excited for when the TTIP e-mails start pouring into my MSP’s office.
Fortunately, my involvement with politics isn’t all work-based. Last week, I went to a showing of the Democratic Presidential debate in a pub in the University Student Union. (Incidentally, if Sewanee is still taking suggestions for the new student union…) During the “Star Spangled Banner,” a Scottish student stood, dramatically placing his hand over his heart and facing the American flag that had been put up for the occasion. The few American students in the room laughed at the well-intentioned gesture. Watching the Scottish students react to the debate was informative – by far most of the room seemed to support Bernie Sanders, largely due to the fact that the policies he supports introducing in the United States are already in place in the U.K. As far as who I personally thought did the best, well, if you really want to get into that (I’ll be the first to admit I get way too intense about it), you’re welcome to ask me over Facebook.
Cheers for now, YSR, and EQB!