Election Day

Yes, I voted. I voted weeks ago, actually. As an American abroad I was able to visit the embassy website and find the instructions for my specific state. We vote Massachusetts because that was our last state of residence. To my surprise, the overseas voting process was remarkably simple. We were even able to choose whether to vote by regular mail (anonymous—as ballots in the States normally are), or by e-mail (anonymity sacrificed). We voted by regular mail but I suppose I’ll just forego my anonymity and tell you I voted for Obama.

In the absence of election-related photos, I am opting for photos of the Great American Pastime.

It’s funny how I hesitate to write that. (No hateful tirades in the comments, please!) In the US, especially in the election season where it seems that anyone on either side is ready to provoke a verbal fight, many people would consider the question Who are you voting for? a little taboo. Don’t ask; don’t tell. But get out and vote, because we all agree it’s a privilege.

Turning clockwise for onions

Still, I want people at home to know how much Europe cares about America’s presidential elections. I got on a train Saturday night, exchanged a couple words of small talk with the (Dutch) man on my right, and as soon as he heard my English asked: “So you’re American? Obama or Romney?”

Ah, the European directness. I have been asked that question point-blank probably a dozen times by Europeans in the last couple months (several times by strangers or new acquaintances), and been amazed by how much they know and want to know. They want to talk about our health care system. They want to know how we think immigration should work. Yes, American news filters into the news coverage here; but they all agree that the person who wins today’s election will shape things that affect them as well. It is humbling to me, because I am well aware how relatively little I know about European politics.

Rooting for the home team

And so they, and I, will wait to see what happens tonight.

Please take a moment and help me in an expat blog contest by “liking” my entry or leaving a comment! 



Filed under Our Dutch Adventure

4 responses to “Election Day

  1. Scott

    When I hear that foreigners are watching our election process, I’m embarrassed. I can only begin to imagine what they think when they see the fighting that goes on and the mean spirit of the campaign. I hope we can redeem ourselves by how we act after it’s all over.

  2. Jo Ann

    I like the pictures of the warmer, more leisurely times of baseball juxtaposed with the colder, more controversial presidential election/Hurricane Sandy event. Sometimes people have to remember what’s good about America and Americans and just pull together and…….

    Wait a minute….that’s Fenway, isn’t it??? I feel controversy brewing already.

    PS: Just so you know, for every election, you still somehow get a sample ballot as a registered voter in The Garden State. Go figure.

  3. Funny because every American I have contact with (my brother lives in the US) is very open about whether they were Obama or Romney voters. And it’s been a bitter discussion to watch for the most part – whole different ball game to the elections here in the Netherlands!

  4. Sine

    I think I’ve found a kindred spirit. I, too, hesitate to bring up politics back home because I am aware of people’s sensitivities, but here in South Africa I wear my allegiance like an open book. Perhaps because of course Obama is very popular in Africa. I am currently driving a car that is full of Obama graffiti – not sure I’d be doing that in the US! I also find that the US expat community is far more liberal than at home – perhaps because you’ve seen more of the world and are more willing to accept and even enjoy differences in people?

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