Four years ago I didn't think it was conceivable for Bush to win an election. Not only had his first four years in office been an absolute farce, but his entire campaign (at least what was visible from here in Canada) had been dirty attacks on Kerry rather than anything about Bush. If you went to Kerry's website, it was all about Kerry and his plan for the country. If you went to Bush's website, it was all about Kerry and how he was a terrible flip-flopper and his combat experience was somehow less patriotic than Bush's non-combat experience.
In non-political news, I had an assignment due in my design course. I forget what it was exactly... I think it may have been circuit wiring or PIC microchip programming, but whatever it was it was tedious, frustrating, long, and due the next day. It was going to keep me and my design partners up all night, so we decided we might as well follow the election results.
Then, the States started to turn red. It was heartbreaking, confusing, and horrifying, all at the same time. The night got worse and worse. Electronics fried. States turned red. The world felt like something was wrong with it. When the end came, it just didn't seem to make sense. Bush had won, this time even with the popular vote. It just didn't make sense. John Stewart looked devastated. The only solace I found was in the website www.sorryeverybody.com.
This might seem melodramatic, but this was only my second year back in Canada after four years in the States and then two years in Moscow going to school with a predominantly American class. In many ways the birth of my political awareness centered around American politics, and I cared about the international consequences of the election in terms of political and environmental fallout. It is the same reason I dislike the conservative government we have in Canada. While the Liberals may have been corrupt and relatively useless (from the little I've followed of domestic politics), at least they seemed to care about our international reputation and the importance of things like international law and environment. While the American government has always been isolationist and unilateral to a frustrating degree, Bush's government brought that back to a level not seen since the Monroe Doctrine (perhaps the failure of Congress to join the League of Nations would be a strong contender too).
Basically, what I am trying to say is, despite all conscious effort not to care too much about the election results, I find myself oddly excited tonight. That scares me, because I was excited four years ago, too, and ended up terribly disappointed. I hope this time the sane portion of the American electorate really has woken up and realised that if they really do care about their country, they need to act.