We are speaking with Mr. Alan Grayson, former three time U.S. Democratic congressional representative from Florida. He is also one of America’s leading legal experts on U.S. government contract law, federal whistleblower blower lawsuits against U.S. defence contractors and American public policy. Additionally, Mr. Grayson is also one of the country’s most perceptive political commentators and sharpest observers. Additionally, he is one the most innovative entrepreneurs and international investors in the U.S.
When did you first come to Thailand?
In 1977, on my way to a summer spent in Malaysia, via Thai International Airlines.
What has changed here the most?
The economy. The first time I was in Bangkok, I went into a shop that had five refrigerators for sale, and a weary family waiting for someone to walk in and buy one. Same thing with another shop – one car for sale. That would not happen today, at least not in Bangkok.
What has changed here the least?
The beautiful, warm and charming character of people.
What got you into U.S. national politics?
The immediate impetus was the war in Iraq. I wanted it to end, and logically, the only way that I could try to do that was to be elected to Congress. I wanted to be a champion for justice, equality and peace. I do feel that I was instrumental in avoiding war with Syria, which would have made a bad situation much worse. And, along the way, I passed more laws than any other Member of Congress – good, progressive laws, that improved the lives of ordinary people, especially those in need.
You have lived a true ‘Rags-to-Riches’ life, a real ‘Pull-Yourself-Up-By-Your-Bootstraps’ Saga, a true ‘Horatio Alger’ story. What are your feelings looking back so far?
I am very, very lucky to be alive. Once you’ve been thrown under a moving bus, after that point, it’s all gravy.
Your life has been dedicated to public service, always helping others who are less fortunate. Has that personal mission changed at all?
No. Modern life creates enormous inequality of every type – economic, social, racial, health wise, interpersonal and even psychological. Someone has to try to restore balance, fairness and justice in the equation of life.
You have been one of America’s most prescient political commentors and observers. You must be disheartened to see the U.S.A. literally tear itself apart. What is your take on all the very disheartening daily unfolding of madness back there?
I hope it’s all over. People used to wonder what it would be like if a lunatic became President of the United States. Now, we know.
You have travelled all over the world many times. Do you have any general observations from what you have seen?
I have been to every country. There are certain universals, in my opinion. For instance, almost everywhere, there is a taboo against violence. People in the market economy want to be safe, earn a decent living, own certain possessions like a car, and have a certain amount of privacy. Most people enjoy music, and smile when they see children. Everywhere, I think, people would like to fall in love.
The Chinese have an ancient curse: “May you live in an important age.” We are surely living in that age now. What is your personal take on global events?
Some people have their stuff together. Some people don’t. Covid-19 has shown us which are which. More generally, over the longer term, very large numbers of people are being enslaved by debt, from a young age, as we try to borrow from tomorrow to keep people employed today. Also, younger people in many countries are showing very little interest in having children. Thanks to technological changes, the level of distraction in our daily lives is rising astronomically. How we deal with those three issues, and climate change, will tell the tale of the 21st century.
What does the future hold for you?
I don’t know. I will continue to try to make reasonable plans, and then pursue them, which is exactly what human beings do.