On waking up and checking the good ol' internets I have actually cried.
I may have been born in the U.K., I may never have lived in the U.S.A. for any great length of time but I am American (and I'm British - I'm both). My mum worked hard as my brother and I were growing up to instil in us a sense of identity as Americans. And having that identity has not always been easy. I encountered a lot of scorn growing up; I don't sound American and I don't go around with "I'm a U.S. citizen" tattooed on my forehead so I could not tell you the number of times I've been present when someone has been making generalised slurs about American people. Now, I know there are some pretty odious American people out there in the world - but there are equally some pretty odious British people out there in the world too; because people's actions and attitudes are defined and moulded by more than their nationality. Then, I'm afraid, the whole Afghanistan/Iraq-thing brought more anti-U.S. (or anti-George Bush) feelings to elements of the general British public.
I would like a United States that I does not require me to go around defending part of my nationality. And I hope Barack Obama and the increased Democratic representation in both the House and the Senate will put the U.S. in more of a position that Europeans can understand and will feel they have something in common with.
I know it's pretty unusual for me to get political on this site - and I hope that doesn't send any of you up there in arms (which I defend your right to bear - I wouldn't myself and quite frankly I'm alarmed by the number of children and young people that get hurt or killed by firearms. If you have 'em - *please*, *please* don't give them to your eight year old to play with or leave them where your teenager can get at them if they decide they're having a bad year at school.....but, the Constitution says you can - and I respect that.) I voted this year (and I have voted in every election since I was old enough to vote in 1996 - even from overseas) If you're disappointed that your candidate didn't win - I'm sorry; I can relate - I've felt like that the last two times. It's wretched - and we feel wretched because we care about our country. We think that care should come in different ways - but remember, I have a British ethos at the base of my beliefs. I *really* believe in healthcare that's free at point of use (it's not free, the money for it doesn't come out of thin air) - I've paid for my health care; I've just paid for it a little bit at a time in every paycheque - in my taxes. And yes, "Who's this FICA guy and why's he getting all my money?" (Except we don't have FICA here, obviously) But over the last four years I'm really grateful that I paid my money that little bit at a time and wasn't forking over handfuls of cash at every chemotherapy appointment.
Hey, the guy I voted for won. And, yes, I'm from Massachusetts - so it's not like my vote upset the applecart and turned that whole election around. So I'm happy. But I'm sorry if you're not.