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Election Night in Scotland

12 November 2008

No one has ever accused me of being the most patriotic person in the world. I tend to be called things like unpatriotic, un-American, fake American, socialist, pinko commie, Canadian. I’m not saying I hate the U.S., but it’s just that I tend to like other countries just as much and like to think of myself as a citizen of the world. (Yes, I am one of those snobs, and you’re just jealous.)

Last Tuesday, however, as I sat in a hotel room in Kinbuck, Scotland, watching the Presidential election results roll in, I must admit that I became a bit teary and felt pretty patriotic right then. Seeing history being made is pretty awesome, especially when you get to be part of it. (And I realized the other day that I was actually part of it in that my absentee ballot may have actually been counted – The Times of London reported that Illinois went blue only by one percent this year. Yikes!)

When Mike and I arrived at our hotel in Scotland, the guy who checked us in asked if we were voting for Senator McCain. “Oh no no no no no,” we replied. Then later that night, another man staying at the lodge asked if we were “dyed-in-the-wool” McCain supporters. We set him right pretty quickly, but I have to admit to being a bit miffed. What was it about us that makes them think we’re McCain supporters? Mike mentioned that it might have been the fact that we were staying at a pretty expensive, up-market hunting lodge in the middle of Scotland. But I would think that would peg us more as Coastal Elite than Real America, wouldn’t it? The encounters made me anxious – did this mean there were more McCain supporters traveling the world than I thought? Were the London nay-sayers who kept telling me that “President Obama” couldn’t happen actually right?

By the time I realized that my eyes were not going to stay open any longer that night, at about 1 a.m. Scotland time, the hesitant BBC was only reporting results from Kentucky and Vermont. I tried to stay awake, but I just couldn’t. I lay down with a sense of dread in my stomach that followed me into my dreams. I can’t really remember the nightmares, but I do know they had something to do with having to go back to high school because of failing an American history test or something like that. I hate those dreams – I always find myself standing in a hallway, yelling “I’m 32 years old, for crying out loud! Why am I here?!” and then getting a detention for yelling in the hallway.

The next morning, I lay in bed waiting for Mike to wake up so I could turn on the TV (I seriously considered pulling one of my crying-out-in-my-sleep-waking-with-a-start-claiming-nightmare tricks that I use to wake him up when he is snoring) and cursing the lack of internet access. Yes, I know that a number of you out there are saying, “Why didn’t you just turn on the TV?” My answer: I’m trying to learn to live with my husband again; I don’t think purposely causing marital strife is the way to start off.

Ten minutes later, Mike opened his eyes and said, “Well? Are you going to turn on the TV and tell me who won or what?!” So I did. And we cheered. And cheered.

But then the cheering stopped. Pretty quickly, in fact. Two people cheering in a hotel room in Scotland is just a little sad, honestly.

Over the last year, I’ve missed a lot of things that happened at home, and it was pretty hard to be away for some of those events. For the most part, though, I could deflect the sadness of missing these events with the excitement of being in Zambia or India. But this, this was really big. And the biggest celebration happened right in our hometown. And we were in Scotland. I’m not sure I can ever really deflect that one.

However, in the end, I can honestly say, for the first time in a long while, I really want to go home. Before you get me wrong, let me just say that I’ve always wanted to see and be with my husband, family, friends, dog, etc., but whether that was in Chicago or somewhere else didn’t really matter. Now, though, I want to go home to the U.S., to Chicago, and help change things. Really change things this time. Because there’s a momentum now.

To all of your nay-sayers out there, no, I do not think President-elect Obama is some kind of savior or messiah, and I fully expect him to make mistakes. But I feel that, for the first time in a long, long time, there are going to be people making decisions not out of fear but with hope. And that’s just awesome.

After hearing the big news and having our little cheer session, Mike and I decided we should go out and actually enjoy Scotland since we chose to be here instead of in Chicago on election day, so we went for a walk. I must admit, we had a certain spring in our step. Even the sheep and horses did not mistake us for McCain supporters now.

VIDEO (Yeah!): Proving once again that she is more Coastal Elite than Real America, Christine fails to recognize an electric fence right in front of her face.

One Comment leave one →
  1. D.A.D. permalink
    12 November 2008 8:34 am

    Mom and I were at my friend Steve’s house with a bunch of supporters, mostly from the U. I had this feeling the commentators were just waiting for 11 p.m. ET to come so the network could punch up the new electoral totals. Everyone hesitated for a second, then various forms of pandemonium ensued. I probably should have cried, but I was just feeling ‘free’ from the last eight years…Free At Last. I can’t prove it, but we were probably two of the few from our church who voted for Obama. I decided for sure about three weeks ago–the Vice Pres. position had a lot to do with it. But the new Pres. is scary cool, almost too cool. However, the coolest first lady in history will accompany him. I called Mark, who was celebrating like you, alone in a hotel room in St. Louis, having spent time in 8 cities in 3 weeks. He was weary but elated, especially when I told him O won in Virginia. It’s a new day, and he better not mess up!

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