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4. rx Guilt. Really, this is all your fault. The current election craziness in America must be punishment for your complaints about government inefficiency and bureaucracy in your country of residence abroad: a sort of reckoning from the universe to remind you that your own country isn’t perfect either. If you promise to never say another negative word about the interminable wait to get a work permit in Botswana or the frequency of government corruption in Pakistan, will things in the U.S. settle down and go back to normal?

5. Anger. No, it looks like they won’t. In that case your only legitimate response is rage! Since you’re far from home, your impassioned politicking will have to occur on Facebook and your shouts will be of the Twitter variety, but that won’t make them any less loud thanks to ALL CAPS. During this stage, protracted social media wars will prune down your list of friends and followers while family members insist you can’t really understand the situation because you don’t live in America anymore. Your slow Internet connection doesn’t stop you from posting endless campaign clips extolling the virtues of your candidate, and the Internet’s 24/7 stream of infuriating information means your anger can boil into white-hot frustration even thousands of miles away from robocalls and campaign commercials.

6. Depression. But anger takes a lot of energy to maintain, so yours quickly flickers out and ushers you into the next phase. You’re feeling a bit sleepy now and anyway, what is the point? The die has been cast and your favorite candidate has let you down, like all people eventually do. You suddenly have no faith left in the political system at all and instead glumly observe America’s inevitable downward spiral out of world influence and power. It’s just as well you moved overseas: You’ll be out of town when the slow decline of U.S. power and respect in the world speeds into a slide.


7. the canadian pharmacy Acceptance. On the other hand, you were horrified that other time when the other guy won the election, and America survived that, didn’t she? Maybe your home country is more resilient than you think. Maybe no matter which crazy person or party is elected, your country has decent enough systems in place to withstand the upheaval, and the republic is not in imminent danger of falling after all. Maybe you can even call yourself lucky to be able to disagree so vociferously about what is right for America, knowing that your freedom to express differing opinions with respect is part of your birthright as a citizen. Maybe, no matter how unsettled you are watching the fracas from abroad, you can still be proud of your country from afar for holding free elections, for the faith we all have that regime change next November will take place without violence with the will of the majority calmly instituted, even if millions disagree on the qualifications of the winner. Surely that’s something to celebrate, no matter what country we’re in.

A version of this post first ran in the Wall Street Journal Expat on April 5, 2015.
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