07 November 2012

From Afar

"Ain't looking good, Zelensky."

It's 5:30 am on a Wednesday morning in Kuopio, Finland. My friend (coincidentally Republican) from back home, Evan, messages me on Facebook while I'm watching a livestream of the presidential election. At this point, Romney is in the lead with 172 electoral votes and Obama has 162. A majority of the states on the East Coast have reported who won in their jurisdiction, but the West Coast and parts of the Midwest are still undeclared.

"That's why we have the Western states." I tell him.

Brian Williams' voice is booming throughout the computer room as I sit there with coffee in the dark. My host father comes in a few times to check on me and see how the election results were going. We both stared blankly at the screen for a bit as Romney holds the lead; we don't understand. Could this really be happening? How could this really be happening?

Brian Williams looks so very tired when I watch him. It's about 10:30 pm EST and I'm more than sure that he's had a long day. I wonder what it's like to have a job like that. Does he drink much coffee? When did he get the chance to vote?

The time goes by and California is given to Obama at around 6:08 am. Obama is finally bumped to the lead, regardless of the fact that Romney had won over a few smaller states in the meantime. I breathe a sigh of relief as things start to look a bit better... Maybe I can entertain the thought of returning to the United States again.

"We must win Ohio and Florida or we are done." Evan messages to me.
"And you won't win them," I say staunchly. "Obama is winning the swing counties in those states."

At this moment, a scream of happiness ruptures throughout the room. I change the screen on the computer to the live stream of MSNBC news and just at that time I hear Brian Williams say,

"There you have it, ladies and gentleman! Live footage from the Obama headquarters in Chicago. Ohio has gone to Obama. Barack Obama has been re-elected President of the United States of America."

And I cover my mouth with my hands as I stifle a sob, and I'm crying. I'm crying, I'm crying, I'm crying. I think this is one of the first times I have ever cried for joy. The terror is over.

My host father walks into the room and he looks on. "Obama did it, he won." I break the silence.

A stretch of relief falls over me and I breathe in. It's all over now. No more worrying, no more scares, no more daunting threats. I can rest easy for another four years knowing that all the rights I have are still in tact and that my freedoms are not harmed. The thing that I personally don't like about Romney the most is how little he believes in the human spirit. He's a cruel man, I'd say. He can't see exactly what a human can determine for themselves and he can't see that people can make their own choices. For a variety of reasons I support Obama, but the thing that stands out to me is that Barack Obama is a man who brings hope with him, who brings optimism, who brings belief wherever he goes. I feel comfortable in my country with him as president. Romney is a bleak person who doesn't know how the world works and doesn't try to find out. A man like that should never be president.

"Ain't looking so good, Evan."

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