All of a sudden, yesterday at around lunch time, there were several screams and clapping outbreaks to be heard all around campus. Students danced down the street, holding hands, laughing, cheering and hugging. The whole atmosphere reminded me a little of the World Cup two years ago, when I could hear people scream and cheer from all over the city. The reason for yesterday’s excitement were, of course, the results of the US presidential election that had been finally declared. Pictures and statuses about Obama being re-elected flooded Facebook. One of our students from Hong Kong, Tiffany, – who would probably do anything to get ahold of a Green Card and has completely fallen in love with the US and Obama himself (her birthday cake this weekend had been topped with a picture of her and the president) – had screened the whole election and counting process live in our student common room all morning.
In today’s Model United Nations session, my co-year from Kenya told us that, as already in 2008, Kenya declared two days as public holidays to celebrate Obama’s presidential re-election. Obama’s father had been from Kenya and apparently the whole country is dancing, laughing and going out these hours. That really surprised me, because I wouldn’t have thought that a country would ever give a national holiday because of the elections of a different country! My firstyear from Pakistan however told us how Pakistan had been the only country to openly support Mitt Romney, as the public simply thought Obama was a “bad guy” and was too misinformed to understand the policies Mitt Romney himself aimed at. The discussions about Obama and Romney we had on campus in the last weeks were various, and by far not only in support of Obama – yet I think I can say most people here did support his re-election. We do have US students who consider themselves democrats and and we also have some who say they are republicans, but even though we had many fierce debates at dinner tables, the poolside and on Facebook, everybody stayed peaceful.
I must say it was a great experience to witness this difficult time at a United World College where so many people from different countries are together and one can listen to so various opinions from teachers, staff and students on the topic. Four more years of Obama – yes, “the best is yet to come”.