Friday, September 19, 2008

I wish the world could vote

We are currently in Ohio. This is known as a 'swing' state in our upcoming election, so I've been eavesdropping when we go to the local diner. All I've heard is pro-McCain talk. I wish the world could vote in our election this fall.

We are not just electing a leader for our country, we are electing the leader of the free world. It would be nice if the people of the world had a vote.

On September 11, 2001 - Jim and I (along with my Mom and some friends) happened to be on vacation in France. I will never forget the outpouring of care and concern we were shown by the French people. A small shrine had been placed in a village with the words, "For the victims ... For our Freedom." That one little word "our" was so poignant. Although the French people felt concern for the attack on the World Trade Center, they didn't see it as an attack against the US. They saw it as an attack against the free world. They would have done anything asked of them in support of that freedom.

Almost anything. We asked them to support us in a war in Iraq. They didn't see that as supporting freedom so they couldn't do it. By our government's definition they were now 'Against Us.'

One of my favorite foreign trips was to Turkey in 1999. I found it so inspiring to learn that one leader, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, was able to take this muslim country in 1935 and create a democratic, secular government. He even succeeded in changing their alphabet because he saw the importance of participating in the modern world. Now, Turkey is in danger of losing it's free, non-religious, society because of the rise of radical religious sentiment and lack of world support for their government. That would be a terrible loss.

Terrorism has always been a part of the world, and probably always will be. I don't beleive that any amount of protectionism or war can stop that. No amount of border patrol or bombing 'over there' could have prevented the second worst act of terrorism in the United States. That was the bombing in Oklahoma City - by an American Citizen. Who knows, if we had focused more resources on teachers and other quality of life issues and less on war, maybe that citizen would have turned out differently.

One of my favorite books is 'Tales of a Female Nomad' by Rita GoldenGelman. Rita has lived all over the world. Not just traveled, but lived - she understands our world community. In her blog, she writes:

"As I move around the US, giving talks and meeting people, I'm often asked if the US is seen differently than when I first started out. You bet. Most of the people in the world think the US is out there murdering innocent people. Europeans especially think Bush is stupid and dangerous and while they excuse the people of the US for putting him in office in 2000, they cannot understand how we could have elected him for a second term. ... I know that the negative attitude most of the world has toward the US these days would change overnight if we elected Obama. "

I agree with Rita. I think this election is about a choice between leading the free world community or retreating within our borders and no longer being the leader of the free world.

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