I am unapologetically political, and I know this. Living and travelling abroad as an American isn’t always the easiest thing to do. I first went abroad during the Bush years, and I can’t even recall all the crazy questions I’ve been asked about “what Americans do/think/say/have” since I first left my native shores-although the responses and questions since Obama was elected the first time have been much more positive.There are so many stereotypes that plague Americans, many of them less than grand, and it has been a goal of mine to always be as exemplary as I can be in order to change people’s idea of what an American is and does. Not that I am some prime American citizen or something, but I want it to be known that not all of us love guns, hate women, are racist, know nothing about other countries/cultures, can’t be bothered to learn other languages, have no interest in world politics, etc etc etc. I’m the butt of a lot of jokes, and I’m loud and an American stereotype in other ways (blonde, chatty, chants “USA! USA!” in public places, likes potatoes mashed not roasted) but I’d like to think (and I have been told) that I am a good face for America when I’m not there. I’m proud of that. I will continue to try to be a positive example of what can come from my country.
This election had me a nervous wreck. My own absentee ballot didn’t show up, even though I sent for it over a month and a half ago, so I was forced to do a write-in at the last minute. I really wasn’t sure which way things would go, and last night as I sat up past midnight watching the election results come in, with the BBC on TV, every media website open on my laptop, and PBS streaming in my ear, I just hoped for the best. And for me, the best possible outcome had happened when I woke up this morning. I am incredibly proud of my country. I’m proud to call Barack Obama my president, and I’m proud of my home state for swinging in a way that means the best for our nation. No politician can ever do everything perfectly, and the USA will never be the socialist mecca I want it to be (jokes!) but Obama respects me, he respects women, he respects gay and lesbian citizens, and he is the best choice to move this country forward. This is progress. I look forward to a magnificent 4 years.