Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Here I Go Again

Let me start by saying that in today's political climate, I could never be elected president, and not just due to my lack of experience or education. The problem begins with my admiration of other nations. I'd get into some interview and go, "Well, I really like the way [insert nation here] does [insert governmental program of previously mentioned other nation here], and I think we can learn from them and even follow their model," and it would be all over. I would be labeled as anti-American. A European socialist, maybe! To insinuate that another nation does something better than America does it is pretty much a political kiss of death. It's a good thing that I'm normally not really into politics. I am not pro-America enough. The thing is that while I feel very privileged to have been born here, and while I enjoy a great many things about the country of my birth, I don't think America is The Best Nation Ever WOOOOO!!!! I think we can be a good nation; I think we have the potential to be a great nation. But I don't think anyone should lay claim to being the best. It implies that other nations aren't good and can't be great, at least not at our level of goodness or greatness. And that's ridiculous. I've been to a lot of other nations, and I can attest to the fact that many of them are good, even great. They have issues just like we do. No nation is perfect. Some nations have more work to do to get to a level of even sustaining human decency.

In the past several years, we have crossed many lines that never should have been crossed, participated in activities that were unjust at best. We have been greedy (all of us, not just our government) and too proud and unwilling to be the kind of people that make both our nation and the world a better place. It's not just Americans who deserve to have good lives and clean air and water. It's not just our children who deserve a peaceful land and nutritious food to eat. This is why this election is so important to me. Whether we like it or not (and at present, I do not), the actions of our nation and our people affect the rest of the world in significant ways. But to this point, we have been brash, and we have been unwise, and people have died unnecessarily because of us. We have fought wars in places that would benefit us and ignored the oppressed in other nations. By doing this we have not done right by the citizens of the entire world, not to mention the citizens of America. We can do better. We can try harder. We can work together. This is why I am voting for Barack Obama for president. He doesn't say "I," he says "we," acknowledging (and encouraging) that it takes all of us to build something good. We can't just show up at the voting booth. We have to do our part elsewhere, too. His understanding of this was one of the first things that caught my attention.

Like I mentioned above, I'm normally not really into politics. But this year, I believe more hangs in the balance than just what happens to us here at home. We have an opportunity to make our votes count for something not just beyond our front door, as I mentioned in my last post, but even beyond our own borders. I was listening to an interview with Madeleine Albright yesterday, and she talked about how people in other nations have expressed to her how important our election is to them. They want news from the US; they want to know who will be making the decisions here because that person is not just our president. In a way, some of them said, he will be their president, too.

When I think of stepping into the voting booth, I think of all the people I have met all over the world, and I am humbled by how my choice on election day shapes what their world looks like. I am voting for an American president, but I am voting for the good of their nations, too.

We have thirteen days until the election. Do a good job, America. Do a good job for all of us.

2 comments:

Ted said...

Amen Mary!

There has to be accountability at all levels. The system is broken and needs to be fixed, overhauled, or replaced. Surely we can do better that what we have done.

Jennifer said...

wow, mary. obama should send you a thank you card whether he gets in or not! I am "amenning" you big time here. if I was as confident that Obama was as genuine as this post, I would have voted for him. I ended up not getting my paper out in time for anybody. *sigh* oh well. too long I spent researching. stinko. I feel poopy about it, but it's over now. Like so many have said, this is one of the first elections that it really mattered.