‘Addicted’ to US elections, will we recover?

The long US presidential campaign finally ends next week when Americans finally cast their votes on Nov. 4 to choose their next leader.

But will we all recover to this new addiction? Will we get rehabilitated soon enough from news, commentary and features about the race between a Democrat who would be the first black US president and the Republican who would be the oldest US leader?

Americans and non-Americans have shown high interest in the campaign and the elections. Polls have shown Barack Obama the choice of an overwhelming majority of non-Americans even though we cannot cast a vote. Many people worldwide are discussing it and staying tuned. Meanwhile, droves of Americans are so excited to vote, a huge number of them have gone to vote ahead of Election Day (called “early voting”).

For some, it has become an addiction and here’s how Newsweek associate editor and political blogger Andrew Romano describes this “condition”:

A Newsweek report titled “Election Addiction” shares:

What’s so addictive about this election that makes it such an unwelcome goodbye? Some say they’re emotionally dependent on the high-stakes drama. Everybody is enthusiastic, concerned, excited and frustrated about this election,” says Jean Kaiser, a 49-year-old business consultant in Bellevue, Wash. She says she spends about 40 percent of her free time following news coverage. With emotions running so high, Kaiser thinks she’ll “definitely have some withdrawal. I’ll try and find ways to fill the space, but it’ll be hard at first. I can take up a hobby, maybe video editing.”

The report says the most addicted are the US media networks who have enjoyed high ratings and traffic. After the elections, they will quickly lose their income driver and would be hard put to fighting a new one.

I am among the many addicted to the US presidential elections. And on Wednesday morning (Election Night in the US), I will be at the SM Mall of Asia to join Americans wait for election results as they come in.

Perhaps the antidote to this addiction is a reality check, especially for non-Americans. Obama may be a new and refreshing face but we all have to contend with the fact that he will have to defend US interests first and foremost — not ours. He looks and sounds progressive because the eight-year old Bush presidency has veered to the far right that almost anyone who would raise the call for change would be considered progressive.

That is, if Obama wins and McCain doesn’t perform a miracle in the last few days.