One would think, being on the other side of the planet and all, it would be difficult to get a hold of the current presidential debates.
If only it were so. Instead, escaping the presidential debates and the exclamations of “oh but you’re an American, what do you think?” requires an intimate knowledge of the bus-system and a talent for dodging the question. If dodging the question requires throwing another American to the wolves, so be it. Politics is a dirty game.
Two weeks ago I received an e-mail asking for an interview regarding American politics and the presidential elections from a local journalist. After consulting with other American students he interviewed, it appears he wants to try and guess who will win based on the Americans he questions. Good luck with that, Mr. Johansson.
At first the interview seemed like a neat idea for the simple novelty of it. After a week of questions and listening to the debates on the city buses’ radios over and over again I was ready to renounce citizenship and run for the hills. Thankfully the initial buzz seems to have died down. The week after the election will probably be even worse though, but thankfully I have an exam so I can use the desperately needing to study excuse.
Discussing politics is sometimes fun, but trying to explain the Electoral College to eight different people while explaining why Obamacare is such a big deal is overkill. For someone who doesn’t care for politics all that much to begin with, it’s excruciating.
The amount of research into the American political system and the presidential debates this year has been greater than previous years by an astronomical amount. Mostly this is because it’s the first presidential election I can vote in, but partially it’s so I can discuss issues knowledgeably with various Europeans who hunt down as many American people as they can to corner into talking about politics.
Trying to turn that discussion to their political system by asking comparison questions doesn’t work very often. The hypocritical suckers just say they don’t like talking about politics, but the American hoopla surrounding their elections is just so fascinating could you please explain the donation thing again?
Insist on going to coffee when this happens. Say it’s too heavy a topic for standing in the cold, or that it will take too long. At least then you can usually guilt them into buying you coffee or a pastry after a few minutes. It makes the whole thing bearable.
The most effective escape I’ve found is to pretend to check a text message, but really set an alarm for fifteen minutes. Make something up for the alarm, a class, a doctor’s appointment, a study-group, a secret cult meeting to sacrifice chickens—anything. Leave after thanking them for the chat and the coffee, heading in an appropriate direction, get out of sight and run. Write down the person’s name and the excuse you used for consistency’s sake and if it happens too often vary the times of the alarm so there’s not a pattern to induce suspicion.
Nov. 6 cannot come too soon.