I turned in my own absentee ballot (Ohio! Yeah!) over two weeks ago, but that hasn’t really stopped me from being 100% distracted by the sheer weight of today’s importance. Could I IPban myself from Twitter, maybe?

I’ve lived through three election days already in the United States. I barely remember Clinton vs. Dole, but I remember Bush vs. Gore and Bush vs. Kerry entirely too well. In 2000, the circus that was the election seemed more like a weird spectater sport than something of international importance to a 12 year old, so I was amused rather than outraged at the total shitshow the electoral process had turned into. In 2004, I was not only old enough to understand, I was old enough to be outraged. I remember sitting in the senior commons of my high school with the other liberals, hurling obscenities that could only have been generated by years of living on the internet at my home state of Ohio and at America in general. How in the world could they have messed up so badly? What. The. Fuck??

This year is different. This year, it’s not they, it’s us: I’ve earned my turn to vote not just through adulthood but also through citizenship.

The context has changed over these last four years, inside and out. I’m not in swing state Ohio, I’m in blue-as-you-please Cambridge–I haven’t even seen a McCain/Palin yard sign since my trip to Colorado over the summer. I’ve become a much more extreme liberal. I understand so much more about the significance of the elections, the workings of politics, the role of corporations, the corruption, the lies. I’m not half as innocent as I was in ’04, but I’m now at least four times more angry.

The Chinese name for America literally translates to “Beautiful Country,” and it really is. Americans, most of you don’t even realize how blessed you are. This summer made me realize how vast and diverse and wonderful this country is despite all the really messed up stuff, and I’m not sure that I would want to move anywhere else even if McMaverick wins. That actually makes me hope extra hard that he doesn’t. I’m not ready to give up on this country for another few elections yet, so please, please, please guys: let’s elect Obama so that we can spend the next few years fixing things instead of cutting losses.