Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Election Day


In a way, it's a little odd that so many people around the world care so much about an election they can't vote in. Then again, it's not odd at all, because the president of the United States is without a doubt one of the most influental persons in the world. And I daresay that US politics affects us all - often as much, or more, than domestic policy.

So, today is a big day. And I feel that it's a win-win - I'm still upset I never got an "anyone but Bush"-shirt. If I could vote, I'd vote for Obama - but I think McCain has some good ideas as well. (Palin on the other hand... not so much.) Anyway. We're having an election party at my work tonight (remember, I work in Swedish politics) and we'll definitely be rooting for Obama.

I'm not so surprisingly in charge of the food, which has mostly meant shopping. We'll be offering chicken wings, barbecued ribs, barbecue sauces, potato salad, potato chips, peanuts and pretzel sticks. All of which are, I'm sorry to say, store-bought. I am however right in the middle of baking a double batch of chocolate chip cookies, so there'll be at least something home made.

The photo? That's of a big bowl of home-grown tomatoes (no, not mine - Dagmar's) and in a way I think it symbolizes the way I feel about politics. Not two persons are alike - we are all individuals, and we should all have the right to make decisions for ourselves. (Oh, and also? Some are more mature than others.) :)

Get out there and vote.


Rebecca said...

I like your tomatoe-description. I also agree with you about Obama. But I like McCain, and I've heard him speek two times in real life. He is like a grand dad so it is hard to not like him.

We'll see tomorrow who the american people voted for.

Dagmar said...

I just LOVE your tomato/politics comparison! :-D

Hannah said...

I am 22 and I'd like to capture my thoughts before America either elects a president who its first 26 presidents could have legally owned, or brazenly subverts the very ideals it was founded upon by manipulating numbers in a final embarrassingly overt goosestep towards corporate totalitarianism.

I am nervous. And not night-before-the-swim-test nervous or even night-you-lose-your-virginity nervous, it's a low rumbling primal panic which I can only liken to Star Wars panic. Disney panic. The edge-of-your-seat-terror that makes you wonder if Skywalker's doomed after he refuses to join Darth Vader and drops down into the abyss, if the wicked octopus or grand vizier or steroid-pumping-village-misogynist is going to wed/kill/skin the dashing prince and then evil people in dark funny costumes are going to take over the world... if it wasn't a movie of course.

And tonight it's not. It's not a movie and yet I feel like Obama might as well be wearing an American flag cape while a decaying McCain, in a high-tech robotic spider wheelchair wearing an eyepatch and stroking an evil cat, gives orders to a sexy scheming Palin who marches back and forth through their sub-terranian campaign lair in four inch thigh-highs and full-body black leather catsuit bossing around the evangelical ants with a loooooong whip... umm... is this just me?

Anyway, the point is that things feel weird folks. I have friends who have peed in waterbottles to keep from interrupting a Halo-playing marathon who got off their asses/couches to volunteer for the Obama campaign not once, but many times. Friends so cheap their body content is at least 1/3 Ramen Noodle who donated a good deal of their hard-earned cash to the campaign. People have registered to vote in record numbers, and yet, something just doesn't feel right. I think we should stop congratulating ourselves for just voting. To vote is a privilege which people have died for, and I think there's a whole lot more to be done for the country than to simply help win an election every 4 years.

Hundreds of millions of dollars, hundreds of thousands of man-hours spent on both sides by good-intentioned people who want to make a difference in an historic election, so many resources and voices and energies devoted to a single day. After tomorrow, half of that is going to have been a waste. And I can't help but wonder what could have happened if all that muscle had been put towards something else, and what will happen to its momentum after the election has come and gone. Shouldn't we be donating our money to good causes whenever we can? Helping people who don't have? Dedicating some of our time to contribute to making the country which provides for us a better place? Of course a power shift is a hugely significant step on the path to great reform, but worrying about this election has been a wakeup call for me:

Even if Obama wins, we have not "won." This isn't a movie and we can't toss every greedy lobbyist oil fatcat bigot down a reactor shaft. I think if we dedicate ourselves to the ongoing welfare of the country as much as we have to the outcome of this election, we'll have a much better shot at coming closer to the overwhelming good the liberals hope Obama will usher in, but which no mere mortal could fully realize alone.

Which brings me to the other side. I've heard a lot of people claim that if McCain wins, they're leaving. I heard the same thing about Bush's reelection, and his unelection before that, and nobody seems to be leaving. And that's fine. Because as much as I complain about certain political happenings, atrocities, etc., I really do like it here and I suspect most other people do too. We have New York and Hollywood, purple mountain's majesty and sea to shining sea, we created jazz and country music and baseball and cars and lightbulbs and computers and that movie with hundreds of animated singing Chihuahuas! I mean who among the shivering Plymouth pilgrims ever imagined ordering hundreds of animated singing chihuahuas onto a magical box from an invisible information superweb?

The point being, if things don't turn out the way I want tomorrow, I feel compelled, as a college-graduated adultish-type-person, to take a stand. And if I'm going to leave I'm going to leave. But if I'm going to stay I'm not going to sit around whining like I have for the past 8 years. It's like when I don't clean my room because it's dirty and then I blame the dirt. So in my very indecisive way, before you and your screen, I'm declaring my intention to make some kind of stand in the event of -(Ican'tevensayit)-, and encouraging you to consider making one too...

Jump the ship or grab a bucket?
Wasn't everything so much easier back when the worst possible affront to your values was a PB&J sandwich cut diagonally with crust?

Anyways, I guess what I'm saying is that if we're going to stay on board, we should probably be generous with our time and resources when times are tough even more than when the hero saves the day. Because what if he doesn't? And what if he can't? If we're serious about real change, election day should only be the beginning of "Yes we can," not the end.

Also... looove the tomato. xo

Hannah Friedman

Rebecca Kline said...

I'm glad the election is over and I'm excited to see what type of "change" he'll implement. It's just to bad his grandmother didn't live another week longer to see it. Good choices on "American" foods. The kids and I celebrated the end of the election by going to Disneyland (Jon was volunteering at the polls). With everyone watching the election coverage the park was pretty much empty.

Anonymous said...

i thought the swedish would be more McCain supporters...not liberal media reading, elitist, no-nothings...sorry =)

Nikki said...

So glad to have finally met you, Anne! And thanks for all the food you supplied for the vote-watchers!