Moroccan elections are so different from elections in the U.S. To be fair, I don’t think any country does elections the way the U.S. does. (Am I watching a political debate, or an MTV reality show? Who knows). Campaign season lasted about two weeks, compared to the year and a half the U.S. spends following candidates and watching them drop like American Idol contestants. It’s also interesting how much Moroccans know, or are at least aware of, American politics. Many people were interested in asking me about Bernie, Hillary, and Donald, and they knew mostly what each person stood for. I feel like if you ask your average American who won the election in Morocco, they wouldn’t be able to tell you. Now I’m not throwing shade on anybody because they don’t know how Moroccan politics work. I’ve been here for a while and I still don’t get it to be honest. But it’s obvious that Moroccans are more in-tune with American politics because what happens in American politics can potentially affect the rest of the world, whereas Moroccan politics aren’t going to affect Americans. People tend to pay the most attention to things that will affect them, that’s just how it is.
Moroccans I’ve spoken to like Hillary. Apparently, Bill Clinton had a good relationship with Morocco when he was president. I don’t really know what that means, but that’s what I was told. Hillary is generally very well-liked here. Donald, who said some not-so-nice things about Muslims, is less popular to say the least. A few weeks before the election, I was talking with some friend I made here about the up-coming U.S. election. They were saying that Hillary would win for sure; no one would vote for Donald an account of the hateful things he said. I’ve heard this a few times before, but that’s when it hit me that my friend was being serious. He really thought that there was no way Donald could win. I had to explain that a lot of people agree with the things he says, that a person doesn’t get that far in the campaign process unless they have a lot of support. He was like, “Really?!”, and I started to realize that he might have never met an American who actually liked Donald. He’s met quite a few Americans, but probably not the Americans who are not as accepting of different kinds of people. I’m just guessing here, but Morocco probably isn’t a prime vacation spot for Islamiphobic people. My friend asked me, “But he’s not gonna win, right?” I told him I didn’t know. I really did not know.
One of the most surreal days I had here was the day after the results came in for the presidential election. The days leading up to it were annoying to say the least. I had already mailed in my vote a month earlier and I was tired of seeing campaign crap all over social media along with articles that were more opinion than fact. I just wanted the results to come in so all the crap would go away. I don’t know why I thought that; looking back, it wouldn’t have mattered who won, the crap would’ve gotten worse regardless. The internet’s a strange place.
By the time the election results would come in, it’d be 5am here. I wasn’t about to stay up and refresh my browser every ten seconds. I’m from a swing state, but staring at my phone wasn’t going to make it swing the way I wanted it to. Might as well get a good night’s sleep.
I woke up around 6am, and saw the election map stained red in the middle. I showed my host-dad the map and he went, “Oh, Hillary’s red, no?”. No, Hillary’s not red. “So Trump is winning?”, he asked. Yea, looks that way. “...Oh.” Yea, I know. He turned on the TV to a news channel, and here’s where things started to get strange. The new was covering the election, I had kind of expected that, but they were doing it in English. I have never before heard English come out of that TV; it was wild. I didn’t really want to watch, and I had to get ready for school anyway.
The first class of the day is a beginner’s Arabic class, and there’s about twelve of us in there. It’s a two hour class with a ten minute break in the middle. Our teacher is tenacious; he’s fun, but he keeps us on track. He has a lesson plan and he sticks to it. If break is over and a student isn’t back yet, we’re starting without them. The first half of class was rocky, but he managed to keep us together. Then, we had our break, and never really came back.
Our teacher is going for his doctorate at an American university. He finished most of it already, but he still has to do his defense. I guess the results of the election left him unsure if he should go back to the States or not. Fifteen minutes into our ten minute break, students are discussing the consequences of the results; the economy, social issues, etc. I want to talk about literally anything else. I start talking to our teacher about what he liked about America. He said brunch; he likes banana pancakes. I asked him if he even felt like being here today. He just smiled and said, “No, I don’t”. Twenty minutes into our ten minute break, kids are still in heated discussion. One girl is sprawled out on a desk fast asleep. Our teacher scans the classroom and sighs. He slowly got up and put on his jacket: “Come on guys. Let’s go get brunch”.
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<p>Hi! I'm Cayt and I study anthropology and French at Penn State. I'm studying abroad to further my education and I'm here to share my experiences with anyone who wants to read them.</p>