Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Sunday and Tuesday on Monday

Oddly enough, Super Bowl Sunday and the Super Tuesday primary fell on the same day here -- Monday.

We got up early to catch the Super Bowl at an expat bar. Kickoff time, 6:17 a.m.! I don't really care about football, but as a New Englander I've gotten used to watching the Pats win the Super Bowl every year. I was a little sad that they lost, but it didn't exactly ruin my week. And the English Breakfast, with bacon (a rare treat) and baked beans, made up for a lot.

The really exciting part of the day came that evening, when we got our chance to vote in the presidential primary. This year the Democratic party is treating the group Democrats Abroad like a state; the group will elect 22 delegates to the convention based on votes by its chapters all over the world.

Jakarta's chapter worked some kind of deal to go first by voting at midnight. The vote was at a local hotel, and they had a party leading up to it, with phone calls from the campaigns. It totally reminded me of primary night in a small town in New Hampshire -- right down to the balloons, the red white and blue decorations, and the people waving signs for their candidates.

Even the technological problems felt like rural America. They had trouble getting a good phone line for Gen. Wesley Clark at the Clinton campaign. When they finally get him, there were bursts of distortion that wiped out whole sentences of his pro-Hillary remarks. Sometimes it verged on poetry -- as when he said "The Republicans have spent the last 20 years trying to fssssqueakkkkssssssfffffffzzzzzbbbbbbttttttgrrrrrr Bill and Hillary Clinton."

Voting was definitely the highlight. I love voting. I love the immediacy of it, and the festive atmosphere, and the sense of having your say. Placing a paper ballot in a box is so much more satisfying than mailing one in and never knowing if it even got counted. In fact, they counted them up right then and there. (Barack Obama won big, getting about 75% of the votes.) The global primary is open all week, so the official tally from all the different chapters won't be known for a while.

We went home at 1 a.m., feeling sleepy but very American after participating in two sacred U.S. cultural rites.


michele said...

wow, that's one loooong day of american duties - almost 24 hrs from start to finish.

fascinating to hear about the expat voting night at the hotel. sounds like a lot of fun, very festive. how cool that you got to put slips of paper into an official "Ballot Box" ballot box!
and how great that they counted them right there so you could see which way your local expats were leaning.

it's going to be very interesting watching the results come in tonight. I've got the tv on right now...

kopisusu2 said...

Me too! I kinda got tired of covering primaries when I was living in NH, but I never get tired of watching them. Especially when there are good races on both sides. Too fun! You must have voted today, too, eh?

By the way, I think the New York Giants had their victory parade today. Why do football teams suddenly feel they're more important than choosing our next president?

Mary said...

Hey - that's so cool they had a vote like that. Who knew? I was wondering whether you were mailing or what. Having the Super Bowl and Super (Duper) Tuesday even all in one week was big excitement - but, one day! That's too much.
I usually watch the Super Bowl every year, even though I don't follow football - and of course I root for the Patriots, being a new englander and all, but this was by far the most exciting game I've ever seen. So exciting, that I only felt a little twinge when the Giants won. Plus, the Giants' win made one of my coworkers so happy that I couldn't feel too sad after seeing his glee (after all, he is a yankees fan and already had it pretty rough this fall!)
We here in little 'ol VT vote on March 4. And - it looks like my vote will count after all!

kopisusu2 said...

NO MERCY for Yankees fans. But I'm excited your vote will count! It looks like everybody's vote could count this year! Maybe New Hampshire will start holding its primary later, in an effort to increase its impact?