“Hello fellow Swingers!
– Bob “Hoolihan” Wells, former Cleveland TV personality, as his character from his “Readings by Robert” skit.
By Erin Drushel
Swing state voters, that is! Erin here, reporting from the swing state of Ohio in that swinging county of Cuyahoga. I have to report that I have no fingernails left and my muscles are sore from nervous shaking all day. I take my elections seriously… not to mention my caffeine intake…
Four years ago, I crossed into the United States for the first time after two years of waiting, to validate my newly acquired permanent residency. I wasn’t prepared to move yet but we needed to get the paperwork out of the way. I chose that weekend because the 2008 US election was fast approaching and I wanted to be there. That Tuesday I got up with my husband so we could be at the polling station when the doors opened at 6:30am. I remember the feelings of excitement, hope, and wonder…
This year was very different. Fear, dread and at times a queasy feeling filled my day… and this year I stayed home. With my head under the covers I seriously considered staying there until it was all over. But I knew that was impossible…
And without further adieu… Congratulations President Obama!
I know I’m personally looking forward to going on the hunt for more affordable healthcare come 2014, especially as a woman with asthma.
I broke into tears when the President broke that 270 threshold – and even though Ohio was called – I wasn’t prepared to accept it until the BBC called it or Florida was in the bag or a concession speech was delivered by challenger Mitt Romney. Even the local news sites here were cautiously saying the President was re-elected repeatedly stating that the “Networks declared” he had won. But Mr. Romney did the right thing and didn’t drag the night out any longer than need be. So, to you Mr. Romney, I say good on you, sir! You fought well.
Now here comes the really hard part. The President will have another tough 4 years ahead of him especially if Congress is the same Republican controlled group from this last term. Will the “party of NO” become more flexible or will we see the status quo? Only time will tell…
It’s been an interesting election cycle here in Ohio…
Last week Ohio was hit by the edge of Hurricane Sandy. My power went out for 62 hours and there were reports of locations throughout Northeast Ohio who were still without power Election Day. On the bright side, Sandy provided a much-needed break from partisan television ads and gave news-readers something else to talk about, but the devastation and aftermath will be felt long after the election.
Ohio was also hit with an onslaught of super-stardom! Along with the candidates we saw former President Bill Clinton, Ray Charles and The Boss – Bruce Springsteen encouraging people to vote. And apparently the BBC were here hanging out in Cleveland Heights as a part of the global coverage of the election. Living in Ohio has never felt so exciting but now that it’s over it’s time for the glitter to fade and time for the hard work to begin again.
A Few E-Day Stories
“Signs and portents: when I walked out to the car in the alley, I looked up at the moon. There was a big ring around it, and it was exactly a half-moon. Apropos I was thinking for this election; even the moon is split 50-50.” – Rich Drushel, my husband’s observation as he headed to the polls.
I had to explain to a US family member why the election mattered to Canadians. Leadership determines relationships; The President of the United States is seen as the leader of the free world, so it’s not surprising the free world has an opinion on who they would like to see as leader.
I walked over to a couple of different polling stations at noon on E-day to see what was doing… outside of one location a woman came up to me and asked if I’d be willing to sign a petition – I told her I couldn’t because I am Canadian and didn’t want to invalidate their petition by signing it. She was obviously a Democrat. We chatted briefly and she said to me that in Canada “they’re trying to do there what they are trying to do here…don’t let it happen!” A poignant reminder that even though it may seem like no one really pays attention to what happens during Canadian elections: people are watching.
Election season is always tense no matter what country you’re in. This was the first presidential election season I experienced in its entirety from within the United States. And let me tell you it was an experience. It was more than tense, it was downright brutal. I’ve never felt such a caustic hatred…this country is clearly divided in two. It makes me question whether or not the Civil War actually ended – which if Donald Trump had his way revolution would be imminent. Maybe that’s a bit harsh, but being on the inside seems to amplify the problems rather than the positives. I know there is good because I’ve met a few people here who are proud, friendly and – perhaps most importantly – aware. Let’s hope that over the next 4 years progress will succeed and co-operation will thrive.
Best of luck to you America!
– Erin Drushel