Observing the longest day in American politics from afar


By the time you read this, voting will be well underway in all parts of the United States as the country moves to choose a successor to President Barak Hussein Obama. Voters of all stripes will be turning out – from indigenous Americans whose tribes were there when Christopher Columbus arrived in 1492, to the most newly minted American citizens; soldiers and peace activists; same sex or a member of the L.G.B.T.I. community; Republicans and Democrats and Greens and Independents. All doing their civic duty hard won by the many who fought and died on foreign battle fields.

The ballot boxes are closed at 1200 New Zealand Time in New York. At 1900 in Alaska the last ballot boxes close. By then the result – unless it is too close to call – will most likely be known. By then the celebrations and the commisserations will be underway in the eastern states. Someone is going to lose and someone is going to win.

Whether you are Mexican and nervous about the prospect of a wall being built the length of the U.S.-Mexican border, or Syrian and wondering when the living hell your country is being made to endure will finally stop, the next few weeks might be ones of eager anticipation or critical fear How will the successor to President Obama treat you and your countrymen. Who will the next President be? How will they turn out? Will they last their full term and get re-elected? So many fears and hopes for so many different people.

And when all is said and done, spare a thought for the Secret Service personnel whose lives have been upended for the last year or so by their duty to their country. Whether they liked the candidate they were supporting or not, they had been entrusted with making sure that the candidates most likely to be the next President of the United States would be safe. And if I had to guess, the moment they know their duties to whichever candidate they were assigned are over, they will probably be – after debriefing – having a big party and then having an equally big and very well deserved holiday.

Whatever happens, despite the global implications, the sun will come up on Wednesday morning in America. The rest of the world will be going about its daily business and the conflicts in too many places will continue, though the way they are approached might change. Sporting fixtures, concerts, weddings and birthdays will still happen. In other words life will still go on.

Oh, and… happy voting America.

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