A Victory for Everyone?
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By Cindy (Cinzia) Romano
As an American living overseas, it was amazing to be witness to the sincere and enthusiastic interest in the elections for the next American Head of State. Of course one realizes that its an important election, that its worldwide news, etc., yet I was truly surprised at the one-by-one, personal care and concern that I heard all around me in Italy.
At the beginning of the election process I recall that no one gave much hope to Barack Obama. They believed that America was still too mired in hateful racism. They believed that “white” America would never let a “black” man win or that if he did there would be riot or revolution.
When it began to seem possible that this young, intelligent, self-possessed candidate could actually win, one could smell the beginnings of a whiff of hope in the air. The last few weeks and months stoked the fires under this hope and in the midst of crisis, instead of extinguishing this flame with fear and desperation, the hope actually intensified until everyone I knew seemed to feel that flame catch inside.
It was at this point that it actually clicked for me: sadly, for the first time, I realized, fin in fondo, that what happens in the United States of America can have a real, direct impact on the lives of millions around this vast globe. Especially in a moment when the world quite literally seems to be holding its breath, afraid of what the future will bring. As an “ignorant, self-centered American”, I never really and truly grasped the fullness of the impact of our nation’s choices. The impact on prices around the world, on food, gas, electricity, things that directly impact your average life. The true impact of our choices on world security, a sense of safety – again, a real concern to average citizens of our world.
It has been nice to see that for the first time in a long time, our choice as Americans has inspired worldwide hope. It has truly renewed the sense that at one time drew immigrants from around the world: that anything is possible! Now the world, instead of coming to the U.S., needs a new version of the American dream – a hope and possibility that emigrates out into and around the world.
A local inhabitant of a small mountain village expressed to me, upon the results of the election: “He’s like me, his mother and grandmother were strong like mine and raised him right! Can you imagine? He’s become president of the United States”!
If we as Americans only knew, but really knew, the power we hold in our hands, to impact average people around the world. We would understand it not as a presumptuous bully/savior but as an awesome responsibility that should truly humble us and make us acutely awake and aware when making our choices.
We, in some small yet potent way, affect many, many others. Let’s hope that our choices this time will bring us closer to respecting this responsibility and through our choices use this power humbly and wisely. We have at least demonstrated that this choice, instead of dividing us, has united. Piano…,Piano…….