First, a disclaimer. Despite some of the opinions I’ll express below, I love my country. Sometimes I think the people running it have more than a few screws loose, and I’ve often touted the various benefits of living in a foreign country, but I’m still an American, through and through. Likewise, my political opinions are very staunch; I know what I believe in, and I will stand up for those beliefs.
That being said, oh my god, am I ever thankful to be living abroad in an election year. Seriously, produce whatever higher power you like for me, and I was flatten myself prostrate in front of him (or her) out of thanks. I don’t think that I’ve ever applied the mantra “ignorance is bliss” so aptly to my life than I have in the past year or so.
And I don’t mean “ignorance” in the sense that I’m in the dark. Far from it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy to keep myself informed, and I do so, with The New York Times and CNN and such. I don’t live completely under a rock by any means. I watched most of the speeches of my respective party’s convention, as well as the recent debates. And I’m thankful that I’m even still able to vote in the election when I’m seven thousand miles away. My absentee ballot is sitting in my backpack right now, waiting to get mailed off to Butler County, Pa. today after work.
The fact that I don’t have to deal with political ads every time I turn on the television, open a newspaper or magazine, or listen to the radio is, right now, one of the best things about living outside of America. That even applies, at least to an extent, to Facebook: a thirteen hour time difference means that I often get to avoid the incessant political bickering in statuses unless I go searching for it. I don’t have to hear about politics 24/7. For some people, maybe that would be a bad thing. For me…it’s awesome. I might catch a lot of flak for saying that, as it can come across that I’m apathetic about the election or politics in general. I’m not in slightest, though. I just don’t like having it on a constant loop in front of me.
I get to exist in my own private little bubble, only allowing in as much political mudslinging and hullabaloo as I see fit. (Incidentally, this bubble extends to other parts of my life, too. To date, I’ve only ever heard a twenty second snippet of “Call Me Maybe,” I had no idea there was a new Paranormal Activity until today, and I couldn’t pick Honey Boo Boo out of a lineup.) I love my bubble. In the future, I want a nice, rent-controlled, WiFi-equipped, remote bachelorette pad that I can retire to in election years where my sanity and I can hole up and enjoy each other’s company.
I haven’t seen one political attack ad this year. Not one! And it’s been blissful. By and large, I have no idea what things Romney has accused Obama of and vice versa, unless it’s been brought up in debates or in major news stories.
Added bonus: living this far away also means that there’s no chance of me going to jail for randomly running into Rush Limbaugh and then castrating him of his horrid, misogynistic penis.
Of course, it can also get dangerous, living this far removed from the middle of the election. Without various media outlets to shove the election stories down your throat, it becomes your own responsibility to keep up-to-date with as accurate of sources as you can manage. But the fact that I get to choose how and when I learn about the election, rather than being bombarded with mudslinging and the like, is a privilege that I absolutely love.
Can I celebrate Thanksgiving early so that I can say just how thankful I am that I don’t have to see Romney’s smug smirk while he blathers on about how Obama’s ruined the country? Because that’s pretty high on my “reasons to love life” list right now.