Life these days feels very busy, so much so that I haven't been able to write much of anything, either here or on any of my ongoing projects. But I think there is another factor, besides work deadlines, choir rehearsals, email correspondence, meals to cook and cats to feed, and all the other aspects of daily life.
It's the damned election.
Since moving up here, across that strange and rather arbitrary border, I've tried keep emotionally away from the ugly morass of American politics. It took us a couple of years just to de-toxify so that our reactions weren't automatically, knee-jerkedly, affected by the fact of being Americans who had been steeped in that particular soup since birth. And if that's who you are, still, I doubt that you can really know what I'm talking about unless you've lived elsewhere for a significant period of time.
Staying out of it is, of course, impossible, because U.S. politics affects almost everyone: it's the stuff of news, almost everywhere, and it matters. And I'm an American citizen, and always will be, even after receiving dual citizenship in Canada. I've followed Obama's presidency, at some distance, to be sure, but with interest -- four years ago, my husband and I drove all the way to Washington to attend the inauguration. Like many progressively-minded people on the planet, we had high hopes, but we also had big doubts about his own plans for bipartisan cooperation, and for what he would be able to accomplish in such a polarized, hostile, and money/special-interest-influenced atmosphere.
I'm afraid it has played out just that way. I've been gravely disappointed in this presidency, and particularly in the foreign policy as led by Hilary Clinton, who has turned out to be both hawkish and, I feel, completely wrong in her ideas of how to deal with tensions in the Middle East -- a subject I care about a great deal.
But the alternative - a Romney presidency - would be so much worse. Why anyone -- but particularly any woman -- would vote for him is completely beyond me.
I voted by absentee ballot, and was glad to cast my ballot for Obama as the better of the two choices. I hope, if he manages to win, that he'll have a somewhat easier time in a second term. I'll be in the U.S. on election night, and will be watching the returns. But I'm worried about what may happen, and dismayed that no matter who wins, I won't really feel my deepest desires -- for a world where peace is truly sought, where the natural environment is treasured, where the poor and disenfranchised are cared for, where every human being matters, where money no longer calls the shots -- will be represented. How many of us do?
I was fortunate to live in Vermont for 30 years, and I'm fortunate to live now in Quebec, the most liberal place in Canada, and in North America. My values are close to those of my fellow Quebecois. But I also know that the border is just a line on a map, and that what happens in the U.S. election will affect me, and all of us.