Its amazing how living in a border town can influence your daily activities with the activities that aren't a part of your country of residence. The US elections are an example of this. Although being watched by all and sundry all over the world, yet here in Windsor, its being closely watched than quite a few other Canadian towns, since whatever happens in US in general and in Detroit in particular influences Windsor in one way or the other.
You see Windsor, On, a town of two hundred thousand people, is right next to Detroit in Michigan, USA. The only thing separating the two towns is the Detroit river - other than that people may confuse Windsor for another US town. Being in such close proximity to Detroit, Windsor own economy depends a lot on the Detroit economy and the US economy. Its a pure blue collared town that's running either because of the automotive industry here (its the auto capital of Canada) or the university or the Casino that attracts a large number of American tourists. The cars, mostly minivans, manufactured in Windsor are most often sold in US than in the local Canadian market. Thus its no surprise that Windsorites are seen taking equal interest (if not more) in US elections as compared to the Canadian elections.
I had the pleasure of watching a good portion of the CNN election coverage with a few friends over pizza and drinks - our pseudo little election party. In our little group were our hosts, the Murphy twins from Atlanta, GA. Republicans to the core. Then there was KS, of Woodbridge, ON a democrat at heart, but yet a republican, Bradley Davis (or B Diddy as we like to call him) of Hamilton, On, a poli-sci major and a democrat supporter and Geoffery White from Montreal, PQ, a MBA-LLB student, a supporter of naturalists, an environmentalist and a true genuine person ergo - not a Bush supporter. And finaly there was me, a formerly Pakistani, now homeless, international student, who is patriotic about his homeland and wants to see the person in power being friendly towards us Pakis i.e. not a Kerry supporter.
As the events unfolded and slices of pizza were consumed with bevvies of all kind, there was a healthy debate among us, exchanging our views, listening to commentary, checking internet for stats, playing who-knows-the-candidates-better, and even guessing age of hot older female anchors. There was talk of issues, there was talk of name dropping, there was talk of guffaws and bloopers and there was talk of cosmetic surgery (Kerry's Got BoTox folks!). There was talk of state level politics and everyone, including an out of context Pakistani like myself had a comment or two. We even debated about which US state we would like to govern, answers ranged from New York to Rhode Island, Georgia, Hawaii, Alaska, Maine and Puerto Rico. Eventually, when I was convinced that Bush had a strong lead over Kerry (Florida named in quickly this time) I bid my peers adieu and headed home.
Now you must be wondering, "why a blog about your events on the election night". Well look at this way folks, I am in Canada not in US. Mine was not the only group of friends that were doing this. Bars were broadcasting the coverage and the whole town was abuzz with what the outcomes are like. It was like this small Canadian town was bit by the election bug. It made me realize how important and influencing are geographic neighbor's. I never lived in a town like this. In Karachi, there would be celebrations on election night if your friends father won a seat, other wise it was pretty much the usual. We never even thought about following Indian elections and doing a synopsis of the candidates. Our "brethren" countries were either monarchies or the concept of elections was just not that strong in them. Tempers didn't flare and fists didn't fly, there was no bad mouthing the candidates, there was no talk about the candidates cast or religious beliefs or to what church he belonged. So now I think you can understand why I thought this was an interesting occasion!!!
All in all, no matter who wins and heads the oval office, I just hope they do well to the country I call home and to the world in itself as well. At the same time, thank you Mr. Bush and Mr. Kerry was giving a reason to get together and down some pizzas.
[At the time of this post the race is even closer than expected with Bush leading with 249 electoral votes as opposed to Keryy's 242 - Ohio remains the bone contention - its all too familiar from 2000 where Florida was a close call]