It feels necessary to share my thoughts and opinions about the 2012 presidential election. I am a journalist after all.
In short: I am happy with the results.
And, I don’t know that anyone was surprised by the results.
The long version:
Since this was the first election in 12 years that I wasn’t sitting overnight in a news room or in a courthouse waiting for the results to come in, I feel like I missed out on the excitement and hooplah. I didn’t feel like I was a part of this election, especially since I more than likely won’t live in the U.S. during Obama’s second term, and many of the policies won’t directly affect me.
Though, some of them will obviously have lingering effects, kind of like John Kellogg and his effect on breakfast cereal.
Anyhow, since I don’t feel qualified to provide commentary on the election night in America, I can provide some insight into the atmosphere here in Tokyo.
First, the general attitude of most Japanese (or, at least the three people I talked to), was mild curiosity.
The majority of the Japanese population included in my survey support Obama. In fact, I have been asked many times why anybody would have ever voted for George Bush. The second question they ask me is if I own a gun.
Most of the international community appreciate Obama’s candor with foreign dignitaries and his policies toward diplomacy, environmental protection and human rights.
The main concern was that if Romney did win, the Japanese stock market was bound to take a hit due to the uncertainty of his foreign policy plans.
You know, because during the campaign Romney never once stated what his plan was for anything. You know, except that he was going to help his rich buddies get richer.
Sorry, a little personal editorial there.
My point is, the Japanese (at least three of them) like Obama, and so do I.
When I learned about the results of the election, I was riding the subway. I was on my way to work. I was listening to Toby Keith on iTunes. Oh wait, sorry, that’s not right. I was listening to R.E.M. – “Superman.”
Before I had left for work, the early results on CNN showed that Romney had a commanding lead. However, none of the big states had reported yet, so it was quite preliminary. Still, I had some trepidation.
Then, an hour later on the train, I checked my Twitter feed on my iPhone. The first tweet that popped up said “Election called for Obama.”
That was pretty quick.
What struck me, was that this scenario was a perfect example of 21st century media. I was standing on a subway in the middle of Tokyo receiving the results of the presidential election on my cell phone via social media.
There were some international businessmen sitting on the bench next to me. A few minutes later they became animated as one of them, a Canadian, reported that Obama had won. They all seemed happy, but none of them were American. There was one European, the Canadian and three Japanese. After news of the election, I tried to eavesdrop on their conversation but they started to talk about grain imports from Canada.
When I arrived at work I giddily reported to my desk neighbor, an Australian, that Obama had won the election.
“Oh, was that today?” she said.
Yes, and I missed it.