Four more years

08-Nov-2012

In the UK we have a saying: “Remember remember, the fifth of November.” (Take a look at Becca’s post on Bonfire Night here)  However, across the pond, Americans were yesterday being urged not to forget the sixth of November, a crucial day in American politics as hundreds of millions of people prepared to vote for the person deemed by many to be the most powerful man in the world.

When I started writing this post both the Republican and Democrat leaders, Mitt Romney and Barack Obama, were neck-and-neck. But after a whirlwind of last-minute campaigning around the USA, voters finally decided that President Obama should be given four more years at the White House in a high turnout with voters waiting in line to cast their ballot.

The stark contrast between states’ outlooks and the issues important to the two leaders meant it was a close-fought race. But it was Obama who eventually won by a comfortable margin. With conservative states like Texas voting for the Republican candidate and more liberal states like California rooting for the Democrats, it was down to the so-called swing states to cast the deciding vote. Obama told his supporters that “the best was yet to come” in a long and passionate victory speech. His victory tweet of “Four More Years” (which could well set a new trend for future presidents) was re-tweeted by a record 327,000 people in just one minute.

Obama has plenty of issues to contend with in his second term of office – rising tensions in Syria and across the Middle East, a high unemployment rate, and dealing with a Republican majority in the House of Representatives, but his supporters are confident he will lead the United States in the right direction. And Mitt Romney was gracious in defeat by congratulating President Obama, despite some fierce disagreements while the two were both on the road.

The 2012 US elections could provide plenty of inspiration for an exciting and informative class idea to get your students speaking and thinking. You’ll find lesson plans on onestopenglish.com on Obama’s 2008 victory speech at different levels, which you could even contrast and compare with his latest.

The differences in the two leaders’ standpoints on various issues could also be a great way of sparking a debate and research project with your higher-level students, with a lot of interesting and useful vocabulary and idioms to be picked up. Examples you could use might include state-funded healthcare, global warming, pulling out of Iraq and economic policy amongst others. You can find some teaching tips and other ideas for debate at onestopenglish to get started.

Why not also take a look at other posts Julie has highlighted in this month’s Hot Topic about politics.

Peter

 

 

 

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