Wednesday, October 22, 2008

One can hope: a world with its fingers crossed

While traveling, unless we were speaking to native English speakers (mostly Brits and Australians), nobody assumed we were American.

They'd guess German or Dutch. Which was fine with us, but odd, considering that we'd both polished our white sneakers for the trip, and had on matching shorts, sweatshirts, and sun visors.


Everyone we met in Turkey, when they learned we were American, asked who we were voting for.

Everyone. Europeans, Turks, travelers, taxi drivers. Everyone.

"You're American!"

And then there would be a pause. "Obama?" Pause. "McCain?"

And we would say, "Obama. Pray God it's Obama."

They would look hugely relieved. And then they would ask if we thought there was any way he could not win. Is it really possible that McCain, who is old, and will just continue on like Bush, and who chose this stupid, laughing-stock woman as a running mate, could win?

And we would say, yes, McCain could win. Sure, at the end of the day, a lot of our country could step into the voting booth and be all, "You know, I just have to vote for the white man."

"Really? In the United States?"

"Really. In the United States."

Not to denigrate our country (and then of course we'd proceed to do so) but most Americans, even if they knew it was a country, probably couldn't find Turkey on a map. Nor Europe, for that matter.

Do I believe that most Americans make intelligent, informed choices? Please. I believe most Americans don't even read the labels on the food they buy. They watch the negative ads the McCain campaign has been running and just eat the lies.

The sheep, however, are not what pain me most; it's the intelligent people. The bulk of the (small number of) people I know who are going to vote for McCain are bright, and well educated. And they're going to do it anyway.

So do I really have faith that the hoi polloi will vote for the more intelligent, well educated, reasonable candidate?



  1. Can you imagine the incredulity you would have encountered if you had said you weren't going to vote?! Think of how many don't even seriously consider voting. Yikes.

  2. When I was in Istanbul I got spoken to in 4 different languages, Spanish (there was a big tour group from Spain), Russian (i get that a lot for some very strange reason), French and finally English. I get somewhat proud when no one can figure out where I'm from. It's like my little secret.

  3. I always read the label. Always.

    I'm scared this is not going to go our way, Lisa. Middle America may just up and surprise us all.

  4. yeah I know. For sure. This is what I dread in the little moments before I go to bed, that Sally from Ohio is going to get in that booth, and say Obama, that's a funny name, I'm going to go with the white guy and the pageant queen.

  5. No one EVER guesses that I'm Brazilian. I find it kind of cool :)

    Please let it be Obama. It sucks that I'm not allowed to vote.

  6. Dude, I hear ya. The Conservatives (Republicans, Canada-style) just got re-elected here and I have no idea how the fuck it happened.

  7. Sally from Ohio... and all her friends and neighbors are why I'm going to Ohio next week to volunteer for the Obama campaign. Hopefully we can help out in some small way.

    I'm of two minds over this... part of me thinks that this is going to be a blow out... but the (large) cynical part of me thinks that this is going to be far closer than the poll indicate.

  8. I have been feeling hopeful. This is not my usual MO, but I think my brain is in survival mode. It won't allow me to think "what if"...

  9. It's possible, I agree. But in a way, I think that the negative campaigning has shone a bright light the ugliness, especially for Senator McCain, who just criticized Western Pennsylvania's racism the other day. I don't think it can help him win, but I hope it can hasten the realization that hatred and bigotry are so 20th century.


  10. Hawaii has early voting, so I'm off to cast my ballot today.

    I'm cautiously optimistic. There's the pessimist in me that always has to prepare for the worst, and thus doesn't want to believe that Obama will win. But I actually think he will.

  11. I completely agree with you about being pained by the intelligent people who choose to vote for McCain. It makes me sick to think that we could have another 4 years of republican leadership digging us further into the hole we are already in. Eek!

  12. I tried to explain to a male friend today how utterly terrified I am that McCain/Palin will win.

    I don't think he was fully understanding my point. But then again, he's white, he's male, and he makes more money than I do for comparable work-- not much about his life would change... until I reminded him that if I didn't have the right to choose, we'd be trying to figure out how to afford college next year for a child half our age...

  13. Like you, I fear the sheep and those who really should know better. I pray every day that it is Obama. But, I know from my own family (my sister in law to be exact) that there are those who will vote their own racism and hatred without even considering the good of the country. But there are bright spots too. My dad has been a dyed in the wool republican for 40 years. He cast his vote for Obama yesterday!

  14. Amisare - I know. You are so right. We are facing record turnout this time though, huh?

    Jo - I think that's great. Nice that you can blend culture to culture.

    FreckledK - Label reading goes a long way. And scared, yes, very.

    Slightly Disorganized - No kidding. There are a lot of Sally from Ohios everywhere.

    Beach Bum - I think that's cool, too. And I wish you could vote.

    Hillary - Ugh. It's happening all over the world.

    VVK - Good for you. Thank you for doing that.

    Lemmonex - Yah. The what ifs are terrible.

    Jessica - That would be helpful. I am pessimistic that that will happen - I feel like racism is alive and well all over the US. But that would be really good.

    Wendy - I hope, I hope!

    lifeintheleftlate - I know. Eeek. Terrifying.

    tg - You are exactly right to be scared for all these reasons. And he needed to be reminded because men never have to face having control over their bodies taken away from them by asshat politicians.

    Cheryl - Stories like this definitely give me hope! Yay for your dad!

  15. I used to be quite confident in the American people's "common sense." And then 2000 happened. And then 2004. I voted in 2004 while working abroad, and the result gave me serious second thought about ever coming back to the States. I came back for graduate school, but my faith in Americans as a whole never really recovered.

  16. I am in the media business (news media, to be exact) and the negative tone of this campaign has become completely demoralizing. So many young people feel robbed of their idealism because of the venom being spewed during this election.

    I can't believe that Americans have stooped so low to discredit one of our leaders. I'm sick of the accusations of terrorism, the pandering and the slime. I can't stand that otherwise decent human beings will buy all of this junk, the absolute trash that one party is spewing, and then propagate it like Abraham's line.

    I'm growing tired of all of this, and come what may, thank God for Election Day. Maybe we can learn from Canada and their brief campaign season.

  17. In most election years when the incumbent is one of the people running, the rest of the world prefers the incumbent to win for the simple fact that then the foreign policy stays the same and things don't get all switcheroo'd for four more years.

    But in 2004? The majority of the rest of the world desperately wanted Kerry to win.

    Thus, it makes perfect sense to me that they'd now want Obama to win. And pray he can, because those intelligent people who are voting for McCain? Are scary.


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