After the longest presidential election season in living memory, I'm exhausted. Granted, I haven't had to endure the relentless commercials that folks in Florida, Ohio and other swing states have probably been experiencing and I haven't worked get out the vote like many of my friends back home but I've been obsessing enough as it is. The French newspapers called it for Obama a long time ago but they continue to cover the race with unbelievable intensity; Libération is even planning a special commemorative issue for Wednesday. And yet, although I've had my fill of sound bites, conflicting polls, and moments of sheer eye rolling stupidity from campaign mouthpieces and ordinary citizens alike, I'm still nervous about the outcome. I'm simply not ready to wake up and find out that the guy I didn't vote for is going to be leading the free world for the next four years.
After cursing and shaking my head at French bureaucracy over the past 14 months, I got a reminder this week about the often bumbling bureaucracy I left behind: the government of the District of Columbia. I applied for my absentee ballot months ago and actually received and voted in DC's September primary for local offices. Even so the general election ballots did not arrive until last week when we were out of town. Fortunately, DC law requires only that ballots be postmarked (as opposed to received) by Election Day. So last night I opened up the envelope, took out my No. 2 pencil, and marked my choices. Since DC will probably go 90 percent for Obama, it probably doesn't make a bit of difference in the outcome of the presidential election that I voted one way or the other. But it still feels good to have exercised my civic duty. Now if I can just make it through the next 36 hours. Fingers crossed.