November 1, 2008


Eventually the motion was passed by Nerja (street scene above) to separate from the central organisation and be more inclusive. There had been, apparently, a discriminatory practice in place for 34 years, namely that Spanish law required a 55 per cent American membership. A practice that Nerja claims is illegal for, in the United States, you can’t have a club which throws people out or bars them from elected office based on nationality. Nerja’s view was that national origin is immaterial; if someone has the knowledge, skills and ability for a job, that person should be elected.

Furthermore, Nerja believes that if a club doesn’t change that which doesn’t work, it becomes stagnant. It won’t attract, retain or stimulate members. In this respect, the website, too, is important for, if people look at its pages and it’s boring, never changes, they simply won’t join. Indeed, whilst Nerja has 100 per cent of its members connected to the web, there are those running other Chapters who allegedly don’t have e-mail, don’t even know how to use a computer!

And as for the American International Club of Nerja’s future plans, it’s sending an email to all members saying, ‘Same fun, new name’ and making itself better known in the local community. There’s already been an increase in membership and Nerja’s new logo incorporates several different countries’ flags with those formerly termed ‘international associates’ now more involved and engaged.

Finally, Nerja is continuing with its motto: ‘If it’s not fun, we don’t do it!’ And urging everyone to keep logging onto its website for all the innovative events planned.

Well, what has all this to do with the presidential election, you may ask. Not much it would seem. The only politics on offer among the Americans I met seemed more of the local office variety than national. Scarcely a mention was made of either candidate. Washington isn't so very far from Southern Spain geographically, but in many respects it's a world away.

In the end, elections - presidential and local board - are won on a combination of message and candidate. Obama’s message is a clear one of change and his appeal is deliberately crafted to cross racial, gender and geographic lines. The American International Club of Nerja’s message is also one of change - after 34 years of stagnation - and its appeal crafted to cross national lines to the farthest reaches of the community.

And what a change! Obama himself would be proud!

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