Today is an exciting day in our history. Many of us are voting in our first presidential election, and the outcome will have a tremendous impact on the entire world. In thinking about democracy and voters' privileges, I am curious, though, whose opinions I need to take into account when I go into the booth.
This election has been unfortunately oversimplified to "individuals voting for their jobs." In assessing the present financial turmoil plaguing our country, it has come down to, "How will the alteration of tax policy affect me? How will health care, financial and education reform affect me? How will I pay off my student loans, find a job and buy a house?"
Thanks to all those factors, it's easy to say - you vote for yourself. In an ideal democracy, in which every individual affected by the vote has a vote, this system would be successful. However, the U.S. is not an independent entity. The actions and ideas of our future president will have implications for individuals around the world. It is our responsibility as voters to take into account the greater interest of humanity when we go to the polls.
According to a recent BBC survey of more than 20,000 individuals in 22 countries in different regions of the world, Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) is preferred 4-to-1. In my personal discussions with individuals living outside of the U.S., Obama is overwhelmingly supported. He is seen by many as an opportunity to mend the rifts that have led to rigid divisions within the world system.
We are living in an era of social intolerance, economic distress and political division. The United States is met by negative opinions the world over. This election provides us the ability to restore global tolerance, cooperation and security. This is a chance for us all to choose a leader who will incorporate dialogue into the international agenda, who will look for sound alternatives to war and violence and who will keep in mind that the actions of this country have tremendous impact on the citizens of the entire world.
Globalization has made it impossible to vote solely for the betterment of the U.S., because we do not live in a contained state. We should all acknowledge the influences our votes will have on the individuals living in war, poverty and fear all over the world.