Election day in the U.S. is a terrible, awful 24-hour period chock-full of anxiety as people wait to see who will become our new president.
It follows the same typical routine every four years: wake up, vote (if you hadn’t already), wait for results to start rolling in around 7 p.m., find out who won, go to bed.
Watching it from Ireland has been a little different. There is a five-hour time difference between Dublin and the east coast of the United States, so I saw the clocks hit 11 a.m. before the first polls opened.
Instead of spending the day keeping myself occupied at work, then rushing home to stare at the electorate count like usual, I have to wait until midnight local time for the first polls to close. And that’s just closing, not even reporting.
Though it may be the same amount of time for everyone — the polls didn’t actually extend hours or delay results this year — the perception is entirely different. It feels like two days of my life are tied up in this election.
It’s sort of fitting that it’s this election I’m out of the country for, actually.
After a seemingly endless primary season and a late election day, I think all Americans can agree we’re ready to be done with this. In that regard, it might be nice to take advantage of the timezone change and just go to bed as normal, wake up early, and know who is the new president. But I want to witness this as the nation does.
We’re on the cusp of electing the first female president. In 50 years, when people look back at the moment Hillary Clinton broke that class ceiling, I want to be able to say I was watching. Even if I’m watching alone with bleary eyes, cocooned in blankets on my bed at 4 a.m. in Dublin, I want to remember it. Even if I can’t commemorate the event with the Hillary Clinton Snapchat filter, I want to remember the elation I felt in that moment
And if she loses…well, I’d like to know that right away, too.