Tuesday, November 04, 2008
It's election day finally! Our long national nightmare is almost over! I cast my ballot via email. It's amazing that little ole Sumter South Carolina had the ability to do that! I filled it out, scanned it, and emailed it (from Kenya, no less!) and cast my ballot for you know who. My 81 year old father, who I think voted for Truman in his first election and who fondly remembers Franklin Roosevelt, thought long and hard and ended up voting for Obama. My sister will wait in line in South Carolina and cast her ballot today. I hope she's wearing comfortable shoes and shares with us the stories of the crazies that I'm sure will be there. I'm sad that I'm watching this historic election from afar. I had big plans to return to South Carolina and train to be a poll monitor because I saw some serious shenanigans in the 2004 election when I came down to South Carolina to vote. But unfortunately, my leave time was spent on more intimate family matters. The US electoral system will have to get on without me.
It's amazing to see how the Netherlands (and I suppose the rest of the world) is watching the US on this election day. There are numerous parties being held all over the city. I saw and ad for one at the Hilton for 20 euros which promises Special VIP guests, Large Screen TV coverage, all American snacks buffet and breakfast complete with weak American coffee and chicken wings? Fried cheese? Nachos? One wonders what Dutch think American snacks are. The Democrats Abroad have rented out Boom Chicago's space, an American improv comedy show. The Hotel Arena near my apartment is promising D-Rashid and Sander Hucke as DJs. Will they be spinning Bruce Springsteen and Bon Jovi? Chances are it will be the same old Euro-House music that you always here. At the Kriterion, a cool indie movie house near my apartment, CNN Internaitonal will be on the big screen and US expert Dr. Ronald Holzhacker will be talking. About what? About how the media pundits always get it wrong and screw up the West Coast voter turnout? Numerous expats are also having parties. The problem is the six hour time difference (and nine hours for California). We'll have to stay up all night to see what happens. there can't possibly be that many Americans abroad that we could sustain this number of parties in Amsterdam! Say what you will about America but I can't imagine any other country that the world will be watching so closely on their election day.
But I'm SO nervous. I can't decide what to do. Perhaps I should sit at home quietly agonizing and celebrating every new revelation alone with my bottle of Ravenswood Zinfandel that Cat brought me. Should I crash a party? Just go to bed and wake up to find out who the new president is like I used to do as a kid? I'm so scared that some lunatic is going to do something to ruin this election. That there will be riots and voter fraud and bad things will happen. I'm afraid the Republicans will pull some shenanigans and disenfranchise the poor and black voters (I saw that going on in South Carolina in 2004). I'm worried that the bigots and the idiots will ruin it for everyone. (NOTE: Both Republicans and Dems have their share of idiots and bigots). The same people that road rage others off the highway, think its funny to hang effigies of Obama or Sarah Palin in their yards at halloween, and shout Kill Him! or archly raise questions about Palin's gynecological history are evenly spread throughout both parties. The crazy fringe.
But I'm still so afraid! That's what it means to be a liberal in the USA. You can't believe that anyone else believes in what you believe. You've been depressed and intimidated into having a cynical view of the USA. I'm sick of hearing Europeans say that the US is too racist to elect a black man. It was news that a hungarian descended immigrant was elected to be president of france! Imagine if they were to elect an Algerian! And CANADIANS! Boy I'm tired of Canadians slagging us off. Some doofus in a "I love Hockey" t shirt boldly proclaimed "I Hate Americans" to me yesterday. Note to Canadians: People think you are American. Get used to it and quit your whining. You just elected a conservative government.
But in my heart of hearts, I believe in the USA and I believe in Americans. Even the 2000 elections were peaceful compared to elections in other countries. Sure they were stolen but we moved on as a country. People will wait in line patiently. There is great hope and anticipation. The apathy is gone. Millions will turn out. Others will be couch potatos and just sit at home and watch cable tv but still, people I know all over the US are getting out the vote, calling, canvassing, engaging others in discusison. The system will work, won't it? Won't it?
I hope so. I hope I hope i hope I hope i hope. I believe that we're finally going to get a good leader that will help us through these troubled times. And I hope and believe that things will change. And that the US will show its true colors. I hope.