By Ariel Garlow

My sister turns on a talk show with Anderson Cooper. He and his co-host chat with a woman about some sensational story to do with the judicial system and wrongful incarceration. I don’t watch TV often. I see friends making commentary on Facebook, “Come on, Obama, you can do it!” or “Maine just approved same sex marriage! Awesome!” or another re-post of the political spoof of Gangnam style (“Mitt Romney Style”).

I scroll over to another website and find out that a number of American states have legalized medicinal and recreational marijuana, look at people talk about the first openly gay senator, Asian-American senator, and so on. All of this while a recently openly gay man and his African American co-host talk about community initiatives.

Are we thinking of the same United States here, the one found right below Canada? Earlier that night, my sister flicked over to coverage of the United States presidential election on CNN. We see the early voter count amassing to a startling lead for Governor Romney. We see rallies of thousands of people, upper-middle class suits, gathered together to protect the “sanctity” of marriage, to ban the mere thought of drug legalization and taxing. A massive mesh of white, aging faces, all silently praying, thinking one word: “Romney”.

The outcome of the recent 2012 presidential election in the United States of America will undoubtedly have an effect on our own society, especially through the economic partnership that we have formed over many years. Sometimes it may feel like the entire world is at the whim of the States, other times I think the countries of the world are able to forge their own path without fearing crippling repercussions from the most densely populated, highly capital super-power. Often I look at my more politically adamant peers who seem to only want to argue about US politics, and I wonder, why? In an election you have no vote in, by a country you do not live in, why do you root so hard for one candidate or the other? Furthermore, as a Canadian, why do you assume you have so much knowledge on the US?

Do we really have the right to debate about politics we are not directly immersed in?

Or do we require that responsibility, to be aware of what our crazy neighbours from the south are cooking up? Why do even non-political students throw their opinion so forcefully into the ring when it comes to these events?

No matter what our responsibility or our right is when it comes to the politics of other countries, the least we may be able to do is congratulate the US president on securing a second term in office, and wish him the best of luck for the future.

A lot of decisions that came out of the voting process seem to say “America’s lookin’ up, baby!” with same-sex marriage on the rise, the war on drugs being moderated a little more, and bright new faces in the American senate.

But I’m still holding onto cautious skepticism.

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