Watching November 8 From Afar
Tuesday evening in Lisbon, I will be helping to host a SXSW get-together at the 2017 Web Summit. I’m excited about making new connections and new friends at this networking event. But, I’m extremely apprehensive about the unavoidable backdrop of this mixer — the time of our November 8 event will roughly coincide with the first release of November 8 exit polls.
On the evening of the 2012 election, I was flying back to Austin after several days in Las Vegas — This particular flight was not equipped with wi-fi. When we took off from McCann, the results were still in question. By the time that we touched down in Austin two and a half hours later, all the national media had declared Barack Obama victorious over Mitt Romney.
But being out of the country for Election Day 2016 presents a different challenge altogether. There’s a feeling of lack of lack of control and powerless-ness, which augments and reinforces what I (and so many others) have felt as a helpless witness to the last four months of this remarkably bad campaign. Ironically, the statement “this is not my country any more” apparently holds true for supporters of both candidates.
I’ve mentioned to friends that if Trump pulls the miracle upset on November 8, I will probably extend my Portugal trip for several days, weeks, months and years. This line is a joke — of course, I will return to the US as scheduled post election. But whether or not this great nation can eventually return to some sense of civil discourse remains a giant question for the future.