Wednesday, November 7, 2012

President Obama Won!

오바마는 이겼어요! Obama won!

This morning, I had only one class scheduled, but it was canceled without my knowing because my students had to assist in a mock-수능 (Korean SAT) examination. While bummed that I did not get to do my Election Day lesson, at least this left me free to watch Election Day unfold on my own. I hooked up the smart screen in an empty classroom to the Huffington Post's awesome live-updated Election Results webpage. It was intense and thrilling to watch electoral votes get picked up by the dozens by Romney at first, but when the West Coast brought it back for Obama, I cheered. I was also glued to Time's live blog, CNN's minute-by-minute updates, and my Facebook feed, and I couldn't really get any work done.

After lunch, I came straight back to my classroom to watch the swing states (Ohio, Virginia, Florida, Colorado) battle it out on the smart screen, and some of my students came by to watch. Even though I didn't teach any classes today, I was able to teach a dozen or so interested first-years, as well as my English co-teachers, about the electoral college and other interesting tidbits about the election, such as voter disenfranchisement, the bicameral legislature, and "flip-flopping".

When California went to Obama, I cheered. When Oregon brought him over 200, I cheered. When Ohio and Pennsylvania turned definitely blue, I cheered! And my students were also in on it. I'm so glad that they showed some interest; arguably Korea's future relationship with the United States hinges on the re-election of a man who has better foreign policy experience (despite questionable educational ideologies).

In the end, I'm very proud of my president and pleased that he gets a second term. Obama is imperfect, of course. Who isn't? He was hesitant and obstructed in the past four years, but I'm confident that we will all look past the messy politics and that real change is on its way.

Here is a video of his victory speech in Chicago, from the Associated Press:
Korea will also hold a presidential election this year. They occur every five years in the democratic South, and presidents have only one term. Thus, Lee Myung-Bak is on his way out (thankfully), and one of three contenders will take his place: Park Geun-hye (박근혜, right-wing), Moon Jae-in (문재인, left-wing), or Ahn Cheol-soo (안철수, left-leaning independent). The election will take place on December 19th, just a few days before I leave Korea to go home to the States for Christmas.

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