Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A Week Later, Some Thoughts

Last Tuesday, (spoiler alert! :) Americans reelected President Obama in what was perhaps one of the most watched elections in history. Obama's smiling face was likely on every front page of every newspaper in the world. This was certainly the case of Spanish newspapers even though news of the results of the election didn't come out in time for Wednesday's morning edition. Nevertheless, while Americans waited on the edge of their seats for an election that most people claimed would make or break the nation, Europe waited too. It's strange to think that most Americans couldn't tell you the name of a single European president but the rest of the world not only knows who President Obama is but was probably rooting for him too. (If you doubt that, check out this poll that shows that Obama would've won Europe with around 90% of the vote).

The Professor and I dutifully mailed in our absentee ballots three weeks before the election and crossed our fingers. On the night of the sixth, we stayed up until 5am Spanish time (11pm or so U.S. time) until they had definitively called the state of Ohio. Then we celebrated by busting open some cava we had bought just for the occasion. However, it did feel a little weird to be celebrating a victory for our country without any of our countrymen. The Spanish people cared about the election and many of them were even really happy at the result. But the sense of unity, camaraderie and euphoria that was experienced in the U.S. (at least by Democrats) the day after the election, was totally absent here. I remarked to the Professor that it felt a bit like celebrating a holiday that is not observed in this country. I think we'll feel something similar to this in a few weeks when the U.S. celebrates Thanksgiving and the Spanish obviously won't. I suppose this is a feeling you just have to get used to when you're not living in your home country and something big happens, either a holiday, an election, a natural disaster, or something else major. These are the moments which make you truly feel like you've got one foot in each country and you're straddling an ocean.  You're a bit part of both countries but not totally part of either of them.  Strange, huh?

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