Obama or Romney? If only mankind had found a reliable way to look into the future, this question wouldn’t have echoed through the corridors of my University for the past few months. But then again, if future was predictable there wouldn’t be any surprises or exhilaration would there?
So here I am, in the Atrium of Ellicott Complex, the residential complex of University at Buffalo, with my friends watching the results of Presidential Elections 2012. As I type this, there is an unceasing buzz from the students assembled here. The enthusiastic American youth here, with their Obama-Biden or Romney-Ryan pamphlets and posters watch the big screen with all the zeal of watching American Football. Actually, more than Football. I haven’t actually watched a Superbowl match yet, so I cannot compare the excitement of both these contexts. There are red, white and blue balloons decorating the room and free Pepsi and cake too. (Yep, now you know why I’m here! Haha. OK, Just Kidding). A lot of African Americans, are boisterously supporting President Obama. There are actually Romney and Obama masks here.
Photo courtesy: Audrey Foppes.
Although I have two novels to catch up with for my classes and a critical paper to complete for Friday, here I am watching the election results of a country that I’m not a citizen of. But what’s interesting is that these results, the results of the American Presidential Elections, directly or indirectly affect the entire global community. America being the “only true super power” right now in the world, (and that’s something some of the Americans are annoyingly arrogant about, I can tell you) the situation of their politics and even their domestic policies are extremely influential. I’m not a computer engineer aspiring to join Google or Facebook or some fancy American financial institution, but even I know that the Indian economy is also heavily dependent on the stocks and economic market of the US. Crashes in Wall Street affect not just New Yorkers or Americans but the whole of the global economic market, thanks to the phenomenon called globalization. Militarily, there is no doubt that America is powerful enough to take on all the developing countries in spite of its increasing debt towards China. Considering the unfair influence US tend to have in the affairs in UN, its important to have a sensible person over on the helm of affairs at the White House.
Now, as a neutral observer, a native Indian and non-green card holding international student here, I look at whats going on here with extreme admiration. I can’t believe that politics can be handled with dignity and the level of knowledge and facts, that elections are held here. Not that the politicians here don’t downplay each other. They do, a LOT. But the accusations are subtle and they tell you to go to hell with a smile on their face. Many of the Americans would say American politicians are far from polite, but compared to desi politicians, these people are much much better. Indian politics, as any politically conscious Desi would know, is like a race of limping horses. We don’t have properly educated politicians who can spit out the figures of unemployment rate. Yes, Dr. Manmohan Singh might hold a number of degrees, but he seems to be taking “silence is golden” a BIT too seriously. Our President is not very different either considering the only times we hear her voice are to congratulate Sachin for his 100th century or on Independence Day or Republic day speeches. (Well, at least that’s the only time I’ve heard her). Then we’re left with people like Sonia Gandhi, powerful because of her family history and LK Adwani, who come into the picture only when elections are right around the corner. Plus, most of the Indian youth don’t really care about politics, too busy chasing for jobs or completing degrees to get on with life. After all Indian politics is for people with luck, not respectable education! I don’t mean to sound demeaning towards my country, but these are facts I can’t help but noticing as I watch the political happenings in another country.
The BIG difference is that India doesn’t even have a presidential election. We do not get to choose the First Citizen of our country. The big failure of democracy.. not being able to accommodate the interests of our large voter population.
Here, the elections are just as complicated as India. Each state is divided into electoral districts and the Presidential candidate needs at least 270 electoral votes to win.
At this point (9.54 PM), Obama leads with 158 electoral votes and Romney is just behind him with 153.
My friend Erin, one of the above mentioned enthusiastic American youth, thinks this is the closest election race she has seen. And boy, there are whoops around here when each state’s result is announced! It’s like being in a stadium watching a political sport.. People are just so excited. I’ve never been in an Indian college campus during elections ( hell, I’ve never been in an Indian college campus as a student!) so I don’t know if its the same situation there during elections. But this is certainly exciting.
Romney has 163 votes and Obama has 162 electoral votes as of now. 270.. 270 is the bar to hit.
I think the true pleasure of watching this going on around me, is that I get to laugh at the reactions of different people. Yes, I personally hope Obama would win, but I wouldn’t be heartbroken like the other Democrats around me. And Massachusetts, from where Romney hails from as a Governor, just gave a 60+ % majority to Obama!!! Now, THAT says something.
Romney looks very evil, doesn’t he? I mean really. His smile seems to be bordering on a signature evil laugh of a typical White comic character.. Ok Athira, You’re supposed to stay neutral in this post.
Over the past month three Presidential debates took place. Let me tell you, these things are more fun than John Brittas interviews! (Malayalis will know what I’m talking about). Okay, the debates matter more than those interviews. The candidates just kept interrupting each other so much and the moderator was left as a standing witness to their antics. In the first debate, Romney had a clear upper hand with the President coming off as very mellow and lost. The second one saw Obama coming back every strongly and Romney literally sweating and still trying to interrupt and put Obama off the track. He made the mistake of saying “binders full of women” when one of the people asked him about the participation of women in the employment sector and his in his Cabinet. Well, that gave way to a lot of FB memes. Then the third debate again saw Obama being very aggressive and Romney trying to sound gentlemanly and calm enough to prove that he’s capable to sit in the White House. And also people, Romney knows his geography. He knows that Egypt is a part of Middle East!
Now, my laptop is dying and I need to switch it off and watch this thing. You will know the results from tomorrow’s newspapers or rather from your friends’ FB statuses.