Posted by: mariabro | November 27, 2012

American Idol

 

 

Election 2012 was my first election in America. Not that I was allowed to participate, but even as a bystander it was wildly entertaining. I felt like I was watching gold medal athletes perform at the Olympics while sitting on the couch eating a donut.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was truly impressed by the machinery that goes into an election in what is the world’s second largest democracy, after India. In a country of over 300 million people, just under half of them manage to vote in a relatively orderly fashion and produce results in about half a day.

The reality show — I mean the televised election coverage — was as well-produced as any Oscar night telecast or American Idol finale, complete with dynamic graphics, music scores and choreographed interviews. But did you know that American Idol finales can generate more votes than the presidential election? (Perhaps it’s because people can vote as many times as they want on American Idol.)

They even managed to wrap the election up just after 11 p.m., so they could return to their previously scheduled programming without too much disruption. I think they knew that if too many people missed a rerun of Storage Wars or Here Comes Honey Boo Boo they might have a civil insurrection on their hands.

 

 

 

 

 

But democracy in action is impressive. Linda Roberts Singh, who recently returned to her home state of Minnesota after living in Japan, told me: “My window looked out on the steady stream of people as they parked and walked to the church to vote. It was a spectacular parade of democracy all day — young and old, people in wheelchairs, people with strollers.”

Lisa Jardine, who also recently returned to the United States after several years abroad said, “This election day, my first in America in many years, I am thankful for the right to vote — to have a choice.”

While Americans value the right to vote, many were not enamored with the results. The country is clearly divided, almost exactly in half.

I asked Massachusetts native and small business owner Doug Karo why he looked so glum the morning after the election. He said he was concerned about the direction he thinks America is taking. He feels the contributions of entrepreneurs are not as valued as they once were.

“The American middle class comes from entrepreneurs. They are the people who make a country run. But if you take away their ambition, you take away their spirit. They roll the dice four or five times in their lives, they take risks and work hard. They employ people.”

While America was evenly divided on the election, the rest of the world was squarely in the Obama camp. But there was one town that was particularly pleased with the Obama victory. According to a Nov 7 AP report, a local official of the town says the Obama victory will help them continue to build and grow. The re-election means more opportunity to capitalize on their shared name. It even held a beach party to celebrate the re-election. Its name? Obama, Japan.

Rakuten Ichiba Japan is the largest shopping site in Japan, with thousands of merchants and millions of products.

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