Monday, November 3, 2008

feel the buzz

I am, by far, not the only one anxious about the outcome of tomorrow’s election. I know this, this is obvious. I’m just amazed at how different my experience is this year than it was with the 2000 and 2004 elections.

The first time I was elegible to vote, I was ready. I leaned what I could about the issues that were important to me (and even some that weren’t so much). I was appaled, though, to listen to others’ ideas about presidential electing. As I was sitting outside one of my English classes in 2000, I overheard one woman tell a friend, “My dad is voting for Bush, so that’s who I’ll vote for.” Yeah, thanks a bunch. I was so upset that this is how she would decide how to vote (although, imitation is a form of flattery no?…maybe she just really admired and trusted her father. But still…that is no excuse for that being the sole reason to vote for anyone). I also heard the argument that Bush had a nicer smile. Really? Really? I can never understand that whole, “He [and now she] is cute, so I’ll pick that one.” I think that says something disturbing about us, that sometimes we would rather choose our next leader based on looks.

Anyhow, I didn’t think that the people I heard discussing the 2004 election soundded all that much more informed. This is not at all a fair comment on other people and their research and critical thinking abilities. Part of it is that I just tend to isolate myself. How can I determine how involved people are when I refuse to associate with most people?

This election feels different, though. Perhaps every election I live through will feel more charged to me, as I continue to follow the campaigns and issues more. I know that if we suddenly succumb to complete group insanity and Palin secures the candidacy for the Republican party in four years, that election will be much more charged. And, I’ll watch the coverage from my new home in Calgary.

Anyhow, I’m excited that there is such a buzz about this election on campus. I’m excited that so many of my students are informed on at least a few of the issues and that they are excited (or upset or something) enough to get out and vote. Many of my students have already voted and, like me, are anxiously awaiting tomorrow’s (or whenever’s) outcome.

I certainly don’t agree with much of what I overhear people discussing, but I’m excited that there is discussion ongoing. I’ve been doing a lot of listening-in lately (i.e. eavesdropping), gauging what side of this election people are supporting. (It’s all Democrat or Republican. I haven’t overheard any talk about the Green Party or the Independent American Party, ecc). I love to hear others’ opinions.

One of my students said, just today, regarding her anticipation of the election results, “I’m going to freak out!” I told her, “I know exactly how you feel.” She and the student next to her asked each other, “What are you going to do if he wins?” I love that they are concerned about how their lives are going to change depending on the new administration. (I can only guess which candidate they meant by “he” and I didn’t ask them to elaborate. Either way.)

I hope that I never become disinterested in politics. I’m only barely politically literate right now (well, I suppose that depends on who I am comparing myself to), but I hope my interest never wanes. I also hope, though, that I can maintain some semblance of sanity because I have a lot of elections to live through still, I hope. I also hope that Pic grows up to take a similar interest. I know that it’s scary to get so caught up in such large issues and I know that it’s actually somewhat idealistic to believe that my little vote makes much of a difference (hello US representative democracy with your electoral college), but I think that apathy is scarier.

Okay, this is crappy rambling. Sorry. Before I sign off, though, one more note. I was listening to NPR this morning (because you know us soccer moms, business men and idiots listen to that) and they were profiling some voter. She’s a Republican who had been supporting Clinton. After the candidates and their running mates were chosen, though, she threw her support behind Palin, specifically. She said, “I’m not a feminist or anything….” She said more, but I can’t remember the exact quote. Let me just respond to that comment. Um, yeah, y’think? (She is now supporting Obama, because she feels that he is actually talking about/responding to the issues, but I’m caught up on the feminist comment.)

Okay, really…the end.

This post brought to you today by the words “excited” and “hope.” Sorry for the repetition.