November 04, 2008

America Votes - The world watches

On the morning November 4th, 2008 I woke up, finding myself turning on the television set to watch the US Elections. It was the very first time in my life that something related to politics seemed to nudge my latent interest in this domain. Honestly, I still don't know too much about the elections or what kind of repercussions the results of the same may have. But something about this election makes me want to keep a close tab on its happenings. What is it I wonder, for it has never ever happened previously, even in my own country, that it mattered to me as to who became the President, Prime Minister or even my states Chief Minister per se!

It felt so good just to watch the Americans wake up early in the morning and go to vote for their prospective President. Each and every telecast showed people standing in queues with a fervor similar to that of a teenager voting for his College Union President. When asked why they vote, one said - "Because my vote matters", another said - "Because it makes me a part of history". It felt good to hear this. Almost patriotic in a foreign land. Paradoxical as it may seem, I never felt the same back in India about our elections. Why dont we feel that way back there? Is it the media? Is it the hype of elections and the lull that follows? Or is it the message of the politicians?

My guess is its the last one. Although the campaigning goes on with similar energy, or perhaps even more (not to forget all the drums and dancing that happens on the roads!), I think its the words of the candidates that matter. Here in America, its not just another speech, its a commitment. Something that you can rely on and something that you know will definitly come in place when that particular candidate is elected. And then of course there is this other thing - Enthusiasm. A quick follower to this would be Selflessness of the candidates. I never heard any politician here say "I" in his or her speech.. its either "We" or "America". I guess we Indians have a lot to learn apart from just sporting western brands and accents!!

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