Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Why bother?

My in laws are a little bit puzzled why we've been talking about the US elections so much recently, why we changed the channel from their beloved Channel U to CNN and MSNBC this evening at dinner. Most people don't really bother. It is after all, just another election in another country. But we do care. So much so that NY Times is left open on the browser so that we get the results as they come in and if the kid wasn't in the room with us, we'd have the tv on the whole night to watch them as they come in.

But why bother? It really doesn't affect us. Our bonuses aren't going to grow with a new adminstration. Our IRs aren't going to go away. The state of our economy isn't going to get better, why bother. Perhaps it's got something to do with the audactity of hope.

Or perhaps it's got to do with the fact that I've been teaching it for the better part of this year, explaining the concepts of the electoral vote against the popular vote. Explaining the concept of democracy and Federal government. A throwback to the days where I ate and breathed American politics and history. Perhaps it would be a nice round off to my year of academic nostalgia.

Or it could be the fact that we only in the last few months finished The West Wing series which ended with a resounding bang worthy of the pilot season where a new President was sworn in and this character had been fortuitously based on Barack Obama himself. Life imitating art or art imitating life or is it art at all?

I don't really know. It could just be that it's the end of the academic year and I'm so burnt out fumes left me about six months ago that I need a distraction to wind down and this comes at the right time. However, that would mean that it's just a conveninent distraction and that's not worthy of the significance of it so I shall dismiss it although I must admit it has no small part to play in all this excitement.

If I think hard about it, I think it's because I love being in the throes of anything that's driven by passion and cause. It ignites me. And even though this is a couple of continents away and a gazilliion time zones, we calculated and I think the results of the elections will only hit our papers Thursday morning, it's contagious. It means change and it means possibility and most of all, it could possibly bring an end to the mockery that has become the USA.

But with all this hope also comes a great amount of worry. Worry that the Americans will live up to their stereotype of being dumb. That they will repeat the colossal mistake of 2004. That because of all the hype, the Republicans will work harder to get the Grumpy old man into the White House. That all our hope will go to naught. And academically, there's the Bradley effect to worry about. Incidentally, Tom Bradley was African American too.

What they need is a nuclear meltdown in Arizona to seal it for Obama but that would really be life imitating art and in a very very cruel way. Only in the fake world where a fake president is elected will that be oh as successful as it was with minimal damage and fall out. I dread that in the real world, if the party in red wins and the Grumpy Old Man dies and the hockey mom, caribou killing VP gets to run the world's superpower, the country will just have all the library books burnt in the square and baby seals will no longer stand the chance of survival among other very bad things.

And that's a nightmare scenario of nuclear proportions.

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Ondine tossed this thought in at 00:51

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