Wednesday, 7 November 2012

A funny old Election

A few months ago, I was quite looking forward to being here for the American Election. I never dreamed it would be like it has been.

First of all, life has not returned to normal here. Some people in our town are still without power - 10 days after Hurricane Sandy. The weather has turned cold now and today there is a snowstorm with high winds - causing even more blackouts. The lights have flickered a few times today already and I'm hoping desperately we don't lose power again. School went back on Monday, but the kids have no homework due to people not having power at home, and a lot of after school activities have been cancelled. Then there is the petrol shortage. Many petrol stations are not open - whether due to lack of power or lack of gasoline is not entirely clear. In addition to this, people have panicked and rushed out to fill up. There are queues five hours long all over Long Island and everywhere you go, you see people standing around in the cold with jerry cans. Luckily we haven't had to fill up yet, but if it isn't over by the weekend we may be waiting in line with everyone else. Meanwhile, on the South Shore of Long Island, not 20 miles away, people are homeless, with all their possessions destroyed, rubble that hasn't been cleared and certainly no power or water. My heart goes out to them this cold, snowy night.

So watching the Election coverage seemed slightly surreal with all this going on - not to mention my current illness/pain, which is making everything seem nightmarish anyway. Somehow the problems we, as a family and as a community, are going through made the Election seem rather trivial.

Nevertheless I am relieved that Barack Obama came through. To me, his heart is in the right place and he cares about making this country a better place to live, whereas Romney was all about money and ensuring that rich America gets richer.

On another note, I am still astonished by the lack of political discussion in social circles here. Normally, the people I know here don't discuss their politics at all. During the last few weeks, I have heard some conversations - one at a party where someone was being attacked for supporting Romney, and the hostess quickly stopped the conversation; one at a dinner party where again, what would have been in the UK a spirited political discussion turned slightly awkward. The only proper discussions we've had about the Election have been with non Americans. (People do seem more willing to share their thoughts on social media though - people have "liked" candidates, and there have been some comments on Facebook today (one person  saying that what with the Hurricane and now Obama's re-election, it's like the end of the world has come).)

So, we continue to recover from the storm. Maybe sometime, things will go back to normal.


Knackered Mother said...

Goodness, doesn't sound like much fun. Hugs x

Conuly said...

I was always exhorted as a child to never discuss religion or politics, especially not in a mixed group. That's right up there with correcting other people's manners.

I hope you don't lose power again.

Expat mum said...

I used to think it was funny how, as soon as politics came up, everyone shifted around for a while and then "the hostess" would quickly re-direct everyone's attention. It's no wonder this country is so divided when no one is allowed to even hear the views of the other side.

Iota said...

I have mixed feelings about political chat. On the one hand, yes it's healthy and interesting, and should encourage wide-thinking and understanding. On the other, I have (nearly) lost friends over political differences, and I can see how it can cause huge trouble, so now I confess I do tend to steer clear.

It must be odd, seeing pictures of everyone celebrating, in smart clothes, with all that ticker-tape and razz-ma-tazz, while you're hunkered down, grateful for life's necessities.

MsCaroline said...

Part of the problem is that American culture isn't comfortable with disagreement. We equate disagreeing with name-calling,anger, and hostility, not with a reasonable exchange of opinions.

I'm sorry to hear you're still in pain. In my case, the awful initial pain was helped by a 5-day course of steroids (dose-pak) which got me up and mobile enough to attend PT regularly. It is slow, but you WILL feel better...I promise. Stay warm!

nappy valley girl said...

Caroline - I did the dosepak thing and I have to say it didn't make much difference. But I am mobile enough to go to PT. It just feels as if my whole body is falling apart at the moment, and I haven't slept in weeks. Please keep reassuring me it will get better!

Lynn said...

Not polite to discuss politics or religion at a social occasion like a dinner party. You're supposed to save it to ruin Thanksgiving dinner with the family!

Circles in the Sand said...

A, just to second Ms Caroline: You WILL feel better, I promise. You must be exhausted and feeling really depressed too. Hang in there...keep updating us. Normality WILL return xxx

Tanya said...

All the destruction of late on LI seems unreal, we never had anything close to it while I was growing up. I think the fact people are less accustomed to dealing with such upset makes the whole thing even harder to manage.

Personally I am all for political debate but do find it is often best with people wo follow politics and many don't.

I really hope ou turn a corner with your health soon xx