05 November 2008

Election Results

It's the evening of November 5th here in Seoul. Although I spent most of my day making my day trip to Daejeon by bullet train, the US election results have continued to occupy my mind. (The Daejeon photos will be in a separate post later. I am dead tired.)

My first news feed was around 10AM, on the train to Daejeon. It indicated that Obama had picked up Vermont's electoral votes, and that McCain had claimed Kentucky. However, I couldn't get any more updates afterwards, while I did my sightseeing.

When I returned to Daejeon Station around 3PM to start my journey back to Seoul, however, it was a completely different story. People were gathered at television screens at the train station to check the US election results; Obama had well over 320 electoral votes, McCain under 150, and Obama was being touted as the winner. Once on board the train, the news feeds continued; McCain had given his concession speech, Obama got congratulatory messages from W and 2MB, the Democrats had won six of eleven gubernatorial contests, and both houses of Congress were more Democratic than ever. Back at Seoul Station, news feeds were continuing; even the pro-Republican economic establishment in South Korea was making remarks in favor of Obama's win, hoping that he could help revive the US economy and revitalize South Korea's most important export market.

For the first time in years, I was tempted to sing American patriotic tunes out loud in a foreign country. W had done a lot of damage to the US economy, society, and reputation, and it is great to see America finally do something about it. I am also proud to have taken a part in this historical election - even more so, because I was able to do it from overseas with a global perspective. Of course, there is also the historical significance of having the first black President of the United States (after centuries of legalized discrimination against nonwhites, at that), but honestly it's icing on the cake because of all the other big things that the Obama victory connotes.

When I came back to my apartment, I went back online to start checking the other race results. The Democrats will have at least 56 seats in the Senate, though Joe Lieberman will probably be ejected from the Democratic Caucus. The Democrats will also have at least 250 seats in the House. California looks a bit gloomier, however; all the "vulnerable" Republican incumbents have been re-elected to the House. Moreover, Proposition 8 appears to have passed, based on the information that I have, which has really spoiled my otherwise triumphant day.

I am still very upset about South Korea's negative influence on the US democratic process, which continues even now. A Samsung-funded think tank warns of rampant trade protectionism ahead, as the Democrats take over the federal government in the US. The fact also remains that South Korea's conservatives, from 2MB down, have called Obama a "socialist" and an "Antichrist" to be blocked at all costs, and have encouraged white American racists to call for lynching Obama; they certainly will never go down quietly in dealing with the future Obama Administration. Last, but not the least, a number of conservative initiatives were pushed in the US with South Korean funding, and the most important of them, California's constitutional gay marriage ban, has passed, taking away my civil rights. All of this reminds me that the real work of teaching the South Korean reactionaries a lesson, as well as rebuilding American democracy and values (not to mention the global economy), has only just begun.

I will ensure that for the rest of my stay in South Korea, the Koreans will see, and understand, my joy AND my wrath - which are also those of America. I will also ensure that Obama adopts a more common-sense immigration policy, so that the good people of the world will be able to freely visit the US and even fill jobs that Americans can't do, while the reactionaries bent on US electioneering (like the Korean-American and other Third World immigrant Christian extremists who got Proposition 8 passed in California) will be kept out.

The ass-kicking starts now. I am looking forward to it.