Thursday, 8 November 2012

Week Fourteen: Election Day Abroad

This week was the first presidential election that I was able to vote in, and I had to send in my ballot from another country. I wish that I had been able to actually vote in my hometown, but for now, an absentee ballot will have to suffice. I’m also a little bitter because my brother was also able to vote in my first election. But regardless, it was exciting to be a part of a presidential election. And, on another note, my dad was running for my hometown’s board of education (unopposed, but who’s counting really?) so he was on the same ballot as the presidential candidates. Pretty proud that I got to vote in the presidential election on the same ballot that I got to vote for my dad. Watching the election coverage in Ireland was incredibly interesting. I loved hearing what everyone in Ireland had to say about our election. The thing I found most interesting, though, was the intense interest people in Ireland took to our election. There was a television ad that said, “It’s America’s decision, but it affects us all.” I never really thought about the impact that our presidential election, that my own vote, could have on people all over the world. This made me think about the attention that we pay, as Americans, to other countries’ elections. How many of us know when the next election is happening in foreign countries? How many of us know who the current president is in those countries? This election really made me think about America, and its place in the world, in a new light. This entire semester has also made me want to be more aware of current events happening all over the world, because so much of the world that I had never seen before has become so much more real to me now that I have had the chance to visit these foreign countries. For this presidential election, the Irish newscasters were undoubtedly almost entirely pro-Obama. And I think that holds true to the general population of Ireland as well. I read an article that said that Obama had 95% of the Irish’s support, while Romney had 5%. I thought that one of the most interesting aspects of watching the election abroad (particularly in Ireland) was hearing the newscasters accepting and promoting Biden’s Irish heritage, while rejecting Ryan’s. I would love to look into this more and see why they are so accepting of one and so not accepting of the other as linking themselves to the Irish culture. Ultimately, I stayed up as late as I could watching the coverage, but ended up falling asleep, and woke up to the news that President Obama had been reelected. In and of itself, not watching the news all the way through the election was a new experience, and these past few weeks it has been so interesting to me to see the way a foreign country views my home and our election process and this particular election. 

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