06 November 2012

Re:election day

same president, different country experiencing it.

so, this year, as last presidential election, we voted absentee. it was a bit of a hassle but certainly worth it. leading up to it we watched oodles of jon stewart on the daily show and checked in with friends back home about how the race was really feeling within the country. it just feels so weird to be outside the u.s. around election time.

as usual, election day was filled with anxiety, everyone is always at a fever pitch. and this time i was alone (dave was in finland). that night, at first, i just dinked around after X went to bed and took care of necessary things...but then i found myself on cnn and slate watching the election. by this point in the night people on both sides are typically glued to news outlets for the same purpose, and in a way, it really is a time where i feel like all of america is joined together, collectively holding our breaths, watching the results come in, trying to stay up all night...prolonging the twisted pajama party.

i remember growing up, election night always meant the tv was on and my dad was in the family room, talking to the tv (really this was most nights). for him it was as exciting as the superbowl. but what i dont remember is politics being something we were "taught". in my memory, my parents never directly told us who they voted for, or what we should care about, or otherwise shaped our political opinions. if you had made me label my parents, i would have been inclined to say democrat was a fair assessment but they hadnt labeled themselves as such in front of us. and i really appreciate that, now. of course our environment probably wasnt neutral, but there wasnt a parental pull that was meant to steer us before we could do it ourselves. but i remember being excited to register to vote when i turned 18. i remember my dad driving all the way to UM for my first election so he could drive me back home to vote in my precinct. it was a special day.

that being said, it was interesting to see how invested in our politics and election and obama the french had been 4 years ago and it was just as interesting this time around to see how invested in our election and obama the canadians are. as i understand it, once they are "of age", all canadian citizens are eligible voters (there is none of this voter registration crap like in the u.s.), yet they are fairly apathetic (maybe 60% voter turnouts) when it comes to their own country. but somehow, they seem to care a lot about our election outcome. experiencing two presidential elections abroad now, its been powerful to feel how much the world cares (a shit ton) about our leader. they (the world outside the u.s.) are affected by our choice of leader almost as much as we are, but we are the few privileged enough to VOTE for that person. i dont think i was as shocked by the french caring about obama because they are so openly liberal, but canada seems as divided down the middle as we are, and they dont even care as much about their own goings on, but they CARE about our outcome. i think for me, this is where the pride of being an american comes in to play the most. whether we are getting shit right or not, we still have the world looking to us, what we do matters, and having a say and having an insight into the riddle that is america and its history is an invaluable gift that i feel most strongly around election time (as much as i hate the negative energy around the whole event). i see that america is worth fighting for and worth supporting. i just hope that obama will continue chipping away at his duty to serve the people, all the people, in a way that is respectful and beneficial for all.

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