Monday, November 7, 2016

VOTE!

"On November 9, we will have to become a unified country again," - Dana Schwartz.

The election is tomorrow but the ordeal is far from over.

It's the only thing we've been hearing about for two years now, it felt so far off when once upon a time it was announced that an actual personified joke would be running for President of the United States. But no one's laughing on Election Eve.

It's the first thing anyone mentions at the sound of my accent, right after they ask if I own any guns: "Who're you voting for?"

It's on BBC daily in the student center. It's mentioned in every lecture. It's on everyone's minds.

The world is watching and I'm afraid.

"It's a big one..." the postal employee says, her eyes wide when I request an envelope to send home my US ballot. She's shaking her head, generally astonished.

"I know, it's been CRAZY. Definitely more dramatic than any election I've seen so far." She says she's never seen anything like it...I hope out loud we never see one this awful again. (Although, with our parameter for awful-ness now set so high, I shudder to imagine how it could get worse.)

Either way the results come in, whoever wins in the end, can anyone predict what happens next? I haven't the faintest idea. I can't picture the next move; it's all just a black intimidating abyss. I remember the relative easing in of the Obama administration, nothing changed at first -- it was a slow two months until he was sworn in, from what I remember (I wasn't paying as much attention the first Obama term, because I was young [I couldn't vote until his second]). It honestly felt a little anti-climactic, even with crossing the milestone of electing the first black president.

The whole world knows this election with be anything but anticlimactic. No matter who wins, the aftermath is still so up in the air, unclear, ready to explode. I'm nervous about watching it unfold from afar. I'm scared that this Presidency could do a lot of damage, both foreign and domestic.

It has been the global sentiment I've encountered so far: US politics affects everyone, everywhere. This is baffling to think about considering the small number of people that actually have a say in who wins US elections -- The US voter population is so vastly dwarfed by the reach of our political impact. Further more, we have the most ridiculous thing in the world called the Electoral College and they get to decide who wins the presidency, anyway, potentially regardless of the popular vote.

All that matters is you vote, regardless of the system. We have to work with what we've got and make our voices heard -- especially women and people of color. Countless people have given their lives to make sure that people who aren't white males have access to this system in the first place. Disenfranchised voices are the ones that need to be heard the most! There are powerful people working all over the country in a myriad of ways to make voting harder for people whose voices they don't want to hear, even still in 2016. If that doesn't make you pissed enough to vote, then I hope you can find something that does motivate you to vote, anyway.

The election ends tomorrow night but this is just the beginning of the next four years. And also the rest of forever. But no pressure.

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