No wine & spirits today. Who has any interest in anything not election related at the moment? There is just something so much more important today. There is an electricity in the air today, and it is about time.
I am thankful that my three years in London concluded in time for me to witness this first hand. Living abroad was a fantastic experience, but Americans living in the U.K. are not having the easiest go of things at the moment. It helped a bit to be from New Orleans - which is only loosely part of the US - but Europeans are just not huge fans of Americans. This applies both to the American leaders and the ones who put them in leadership positions. This is not because Europeans are socialists, or because they wish America was still a colony, or because they all harbor a secret desire to be Americans. Europeans are disappointed in America. They are disappointed in our lack of desire to see the world, our interest in external government policies without the desire to understand the underlying issues that create the necessity for those policies and they are disappointed at the complacency that runs thickly through American veins. The English, in particular, are deeply disappointed in the Americans they stood shoulder to shoulder with during WWII and they wonder what went wrong.
My European friends would press me for answers: How could a leader run on a platform of "small government" and then preside over a record deficit which would affect future generations? They want to know how a country built on "religious freedom" now finds itself struggling to teach evolution in schools but then also endorsing the death penalty? They want to know why we chose to elect a leader who was "just like us" instead of someone who was strongly and richly better than us and able to make better decisions than we ever could? And how, how in the world, our government could not mobilize to save precious lives and instead let citizens drown in their homes but have now spent $600,000,000.00 in Iraq?
But today is different. Today is the best I have felt about being American in 8 years. This morning when I was standing in line at 5:30am one of 20 white faces and 100 African American ones, talking to a whole family who turned out to vote including the 77 year old grandfather who was the first to arrive, on his own, at 5:15am. Today, I could barely keep my composure watching nervous young people, frail older ones and cocky young guys all turn up to the polls. Today, I wave at people in polling stations. Today, the day is beautiful. The weather is beautiful. Tomorrow I will get back to work and write about wine. Today, I am going to soak up the glory of being home and making a difference. Tomorrow I look forward to speaking to my friends in England and sharing the knowledge that things are changing.
Now THAT is something to toast! Cheers!
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