It turns out I’m an (American) political junkie

…or maybe I’m just a huge fan of Barack Obama.

Center of my addiction

Barack Obama: Center of my addiction

I watched all the debates, and then, back in November, I was unable to work on the day of the US election – too nervous – and the minute the election coverage was on in the evening, I was glued to the television. (I’ve watched almost all the election coverage on CBS. Katie Couric really doesn’t do a bad job, and I feel like she deserves my support.) I found myself incredibly irritated when they focused on anything other than the presidential race (I know I should care about the Senate races, but on election night I didn’t), and I had decided earlier on in the day that I’d watch the returns come in at home. My level of anxiety meant that I probably wouldn’t have made a great election-watching companion.

I watched with increasing disbelief – as much as I wanted Barack Obama to win, I hadn’t been able to convince myself that America really would elect anyone other than a white man into the office of president. I’m happy to have been proven wrong. Once the networks had called the result of the presidential election, I felt a huge sense of relief, but stayed up (beyond my bed-time) to watch McCain‘s concession speech (which I thought was very good), and Obama’s acceptance speech (better than good, although I’ll admit that by that stage my perception might been colored by my overwhelming sense of relief).

I very seriously considered going to Washington, DC for the inauguration (Ella had offered me a place to stay and, somehow, she actually had tickets for it), but in the end I just couldn’t bring myself to do it: I knew than Washington would be a zoo, that getting too and from Washington would be expensive and difficult, and that I’d have a better view if I watched it on television at home. Also, and if we’re really honest, this is what decided it for me, I had a fellowship application due on the day of the inauguration. Deep down, I knew its quality would suffer if I was out of town the in the days leading up to its due date.

Instead, I hit “submit” on my fellowship application around 10:30 am on inauguration day, and then settled in for some serious television watching – I use my laptop as a television, so working and watching wasn’t really an option. And watch, I did. I watched all of the inauguration, and then I watched Obama sign some paper work and go to a luncheon, and then I watched a car carrying the Obamas proceed very slowly along the parade route, and then I watched the parade itself. I took a break for dinner, but returned to the television to watch Michelle and Barack Obama dance at the Neighborhood Ball, and then watched a documentary about Barack Obama on PBS. All this is made more remarkable by the fact that, until inauguration day, I hadn’t watched any television in 2009.

I know that Obama will let me down sooner or later (hopefully later), and perhaps there will a time in the future when my disillusioned self will cringe at my current enthusiasm. Still, I’m pretty excited by Obama’s first few days in office.

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