I've just spent (wasted?) an entire day glued to the CNN website watching the US presidential election. I don't even live there. I am tucked, safe and sound in my gorgeous little corner of the Pacific, away from the guns, drugs and general scariness of those loud and arrogant yank-types*.

So why am I so fascinated by this faraway election?

There was the borrowed excitement from my American friends. The normal "Ohmigod we're all online at once let's break out the porn and foolishness" party was interspersed with comments on the various state results, civics lectures for the foreigner and the odd discussion of policies. But that doesn't explain why I'm still peeking every 5 minutes. Why I'm frustrated with the slowness of vote-counting in Wisconsin. Why my heart sank when Bush was declared winner, and leaped again when the recount was confirmed. Why it makes any real difference to me at all....

It seems as though they are electing the president of the world

I don't even have the power of one vote.

I get politically passionate. Thus far, it's not been enough to do more than vote and argue. I don't have time to be more politically active. I can't choose between joining the Labour party and the Democrats. But here, I can vote. I can cheer and dance or scream about fools on election night. I understand the voting system. I can rail against those who don't. But ultimately, the only thing my elected leader can do is nervously disagree with the man in the Uncle Sam hat.

* Yes, this is a cultural stereotype. Please note that it does not apply to all Americans. liha, for example, can be loud, but isn't arrogant. Maldoror00, on the other hand, gives all Yanks a bad name. But I love them both, regardless. *snogs*