Saturday, November 10, 2012

The election from this side of the world

I know I am risking chaos by posting about this so soon after the dust has settled but I am feeling brave today.  Plus I think it is important to share a different perspective.

The Presidential Election was not on my radar this year.  Sure I knew it was happening.  Sure I had some opinions as well as knew the opinions of my friends and family.  But I figured being on the other side of the world it did not matter much.  I was very thankful to not be home to witness the countless ads and phone calls bombarding me.  I saw enough ads while watching football through skype with my family :) and heard enough about it on Facebook...oh Facebook!

Anyway, my point.  I was shocked come November 7th here  (Nov. 6th in America).  I woke up and decided that I wanted to watch how the results were coming in.  When I got to school, I opened BBC news to follow the election updates and left them open all day.   I briefly mentioned to my kids that today a new president was being decided in America.

And suddenly.....

the day changed.....


Instantly my class had opinions about who should win and why.  In case you have forgotten, I only have 2 Americans, who have been in America for a month each.  I had students start chanting for Obama.  One kid told me that he wanted Obama to win.  I asked if he even knew who the other guy was and pointed to his picture.  He said no but he wouldn't vote for Romney because Romney was ugly.  Another kid said he wanted Obama to win because Obama likes Korea.

I honestly thought it was interesting that they cared.  I didn't think they would.  So I showed them the article I was reading and the map that explained who had voted for what and what not.  I had to briefly explain the Electoral College votes because they thought the president only needed 270 people to vote for him.  They only sort of got it.  It was also cute to see how little they truly know about America because they thought that New York was about 4 states on the map including Pennsylvania and Virginia.  I gave them the update saying that currently Romney was winning (I think at this point 5 states had reported or something).  I had a few cheers for the leader.

They left for recess talking ALL about it.  When they came back, they wanted to know who was ahead now.  And I told them.  A student told me that he changed his vote to Romney because Romney would not let boys marry boys.  I had more Obama supporters too.  Friends who initially had no care in the world for this suddenly had strong opinions about who should win.

As the day progressed more and more students cared.  I had a girl tell me that SHE voted for Romney.  I just smiled at her but she was serious.  "Ms. Brittany, really I voted for Romney. I really did."

Even during lunch the teachers gathered and talked about the election.  We never talk politics, not even Thailand politics, barely even school politics!  But we did.  It was interesting again to see/hear how people felt being removed from it as we are.

Anyway,  by the end of lunch Obama had won, though not given his acceptance speech yet or whatever you call it.  When my class returned I told them I would tell them the winner if there was no shouting or chanting or complaining or anything.  I told them and sure enough there was.  They had to sit quietly for a few minutes before we moved on.  BUT when we moved on, we moved on.

The next day there was not a peep about the election or Obama or Romney.  We were able to move on and not worry about it anymore.  Sure that is because they are in 4th grade. Sure it is because they are not in the mix or affected by it at all.  Sure they are young.  But the idea of being able to be so heated about something one day and null to it the next is fascinating. And it happens often with them.

If only the rest of us could follow this same concept.

I was quite happy to see some interest in them for the election.  Maybe next time I can try to do a little more educational things with it rather than just telling them who won.  It stirred up some great conversation and some great stories were made.  It was a fun day and now I/we can move on to other things.

Anyway, just wanted to share some of the silliness that happened over here.  I know that even the local news channels and radios were talking about it all day. Even on the other side of the world people care....who knew!

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