Living in Kazakhstan has a way of distancing you from current events, but we all knew the election was coming up soon. Absentee ballots had been received and sent back, and for some people their votes would actually matter (Georgia tends not to be a battleground state for many elections these days). But whether or not we had a real say in the matter or not, we were all excited for the presidential race. Obama or McCain? Who would be leading our country for the next four years?
And even the local Kazakhstani citizens had begun to take notice. At dinner one night, my family asked me who I supported. They knew it was mainly a race between Obama and McCain, but somehow thought that Hilary was still involved as well. They were staunchly for Barak. In fact everyone in Kazakhstan seemed to be so. I haven’t found one local McCain supporter, and I am really not sure why. McCain didn’t seem to be all that bad of a guy. I’m not sure how the press portrays him and the race over here, but everyone seemed to want someone new, someone like Obama.
And like the good globally aware citizens Peace Corps volunteers typically are, we had voted to awake early on Wednesday (Tuesday night in America) to watch the election results from the Peace Corps Headquarters. They have CNN on the cable there, so we could watch Wolf, Anderson, and the rest of the crew break down the coverage LIVE from the other side of the world. (I loved, we are about to make a PROJECTION. Just stay with us, after the break, we may be making a big PROJECTION.) We were also getting texts from friends and family back in the States as each state was called one way or the other. And to top it all off, we made pancakes in the PC kitchen, a real treat when the usual breakfast is either what you had for dinner or what you will be having for lunch.
I actually had some meetings to attend when they declared Obama the winner, but we were able to take a break for the speeches from both him and McCain. Most of the volunteers were happy with the results, as was I. But I wish there had been some more outspoken McCain supporters among us to argue the benefits of his medical plan or something. One-sided politics gets a little old in my book. But I think I’ll remember that day for a while. A group of thirty or so Americans huddled around a TV watching our home country decide its fate for the next four years. Even though we were so far away, I felt like we were all a part of something bigger. America in not just its borders, but its ideals as well.
And it really made me hate the Electoral College all over again. If you think it’s confusing enough, try explaining it to people unfamiliar with a federal system in Russian. Ugh.