A simple plea: Vote

No regular blog post today because let’s face it, we all have more important things to do.

I hate that I feel compelled to get political in this space and in all likelihood I will rush to delete this post in the morning. But for the moment I’m writing here in my Brussels apartment, at midnight on November 5th, literally wishing I could fast forward 24 hours. American readers, what a crucial role you play in determining world events.  Your vote today so strongly influences what will happen on the global stage in the years to come. Europe is transfixed by this election – whether or not it actually deserves the attention they are giving to many dimensions of it. And I feel the stakes couldn’t be higher.

I moved to Europe during the Bush administration and fought to find ways to explain how the US I grew up in could have become so divided. I was surprised everyone in Brussels cared as much as they did. Yes, Brussels is a political city and as such, it breeds a special {often nerdy, she adds fondly} and argumentative bunch of policy wonks. I regularly struggled to counter their arguments. 

Eight years later, with the polls in a dead heat, I oddly find myself in the same position. If expats in Brussels are good at one thing in particular, it is voicing opinions and I’ve found myself once again dodging any conversation that will force me to predict a winner or explain the ways of a country I sometimes {panic to think} I might not understand.

But then I get a glimpse of why I vote. There is so much I love about the States which I have been reminded about in just the last few days: images of NY marathoners running food to those without power on Staten Island, Cuomo announcing that voters in NY can vote in any polling location today, Jon Stewart and The Daily Show on a daily basis, The New York Times and Wall Street Journal lifting the pay restrictions on their websites for the day of the election.

More importantly, I love the fact that we are ingrained with an innate sense of optimism when we grow up. I took this for granted before I moved abroad, but it is an amazing advantage to be given in life early on – to have a national history lesson that hard work and a vision can change things for anyone, no matter where you come from. Yes, that is a simplistic summary. But it is one I am proud of. We need role models and leaders who have worked hard to get where they are, who are wicked smart, and who have visions for a country’s future that its citizens can be proud of and trust. And just like all of those recent reminders I listed above, that future needs to be inclusive. My argument, naive and ill-formed as it is, really stops there.

Those of us who already excitedly mailed off their absentee ballots a month ago are aching to finally see the results {and when I say ache, I mean we teeter on the verge of  anxiety…there has been too much joking already this week about fingernail biting and heavy drinking to get through today}. 

I have never been eloquent when it comes to my political opinions {I wish they sounded like this New Yorker article, an outstanding piece of journalism}.

So this is simply one more plea. Please vote today, USA. The world is watching.

Image above found on Pinterest. If anyone knows its original source, many thanks for sharing. 

  1. Jay said:

    Fantastic post Jess. I can’t help but be drawn into US politics even as a non-American and I think I’ll anxiously be checking the news in the morning with a bit of anxiety as well.

    (Love the NYer article!)

  2. I have been a bit anxious but I believe Americans will do the right thing today. I refuse to believe otherwise.

  3. Nice post, Jess! I’m not sure I will be able to sleep much tonight. Can’t wait for the results!

  4. Well said. You’ve captured my same sentiments as an American in Brussels. Now let’s just hope voters will do the right thing today!

  5. “I have never been eloquent when it comes to my political opinions.” I beg to differ! Thanks for sharing your unique perspective on the election from your perch in Brussels. I hope all of our anxieties will be quelled soon.

    • Popping the “imaginary” (it’s 8am on a work day) champagne! Thanks for your kind comments ladies! So happy and proud this morning.

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