I’m sure the whole world watched the final days of the American election with tension and anxiety and breathed a sigh of relief when it became crystal clear on Saturday that Joe Biden was the new President-elect to the United States. I know I did. Why do I care when I live in Europe and have my focus on Korea? Because the U.S. for better or for for worse is a leading nation in Western civilization, and American culture continues to permeate the rest of the world, to say nothing of the important role the U.S. plays on the international scene in peace as well as in war. On a more personal note, I have visited the U.S. on plenty of occasions and from the big cities on each coast to the deep South and the wide prairies of the Midwest, I have never met anything but kindness. Therefore, I have followed U.S. politics over the past four years with shock, and sadness – unable to recognize the country I thought I knew.
To say that the past four years have been turbulent is an understatement. I realize that Trump is worshipped by many, but they appear to be a domestic problem, which I’ll gladly leave to the Americans to handle. In almost any other country, there is no one crying about his impending exit. Perhaps except a few tears of joy and relief. Finally we can rest assured that no late night twitter tantrums will dictate the next news cycle. Finally we can hope to bring back civility and common sense. And science! Which we desperately need now more than ever. I’m hopeful for the future and confident that Trump will fail at his attempted coup d’état of launching an attack on the cornerstone of every democracy – the voting process. The good must prevail, and I’ll continue to be nauseously optimistic.
My champagne-powered euphoria from Saturday when Biden was pronounced the winner has since evaporated and I recognize that there are still tough times ahead and many battles to be fought. I can’t stay completely away from the news, although it probably would be much better for my stress and anxiety, so I try to make the most of it by following the American election through Korean media. Yesterday, the JTBC newsroom spent almost 30 minutes of their one-hour segment on the election and I was happy to see that they also celebrated a Biden victory and replayed old concession speeches by Al Gore, John McCain, and Hillary Clinton while urging Trump to also admit defeat. I picked up a lot of election-related vocabulary that may be helpful to my Korean learning readers so I’ll share a few expressions with you here:
재선에 실패하다 fail to be re-elected
승복연설 concession speech
대선 presidential election
정권인수 transfer of political power
최초의 여성 부통령 first female vice president
대통령에 당선되다 be elected president
바이든 당선 President-elect Biden
경합주 battleground state
개표 결과 results of the ballot count
Here’s a link to President-elect Biden’s full acceptance speech in Korean. Trust me, it’s every bit as moving and inspiring in Korean as it is in English.
To a brighter future for all! Cheers!