Four years ago I lived in Sydney, Australia. Four years ago I was part of the ‘watching world’ as we held our collective breaths waiting for election day in the United States. Like many of my peers, colleagues and family members, I was so pleased and so relieved, when Obama was elected in what we considered a landslide decision that I had tears in my eyes when I watched the news on television. In my mind America – and the world – needed a BIG change. And, although McCain seems like a truly good person, I agreed with the majority of Americans who decided that he was not what the country or the world needed. Obama was.
I would wager that many Americans would be surprised by how many people outside of the U.S. watch the presidential race with keen interest and investment. America – as it is also known around the world – is still a super power, despite, well too many things to name. The decisions made and the actions taken in America more-often-than-not affect everyone else in the world – either directly, or through an international trickle-down. For that reason, America please know that the world is watching very closely as we inch towards the upcoming election.
The running gag is that most Americans are unconcerned or uniformed about what happens overseas. Having lived in the U.S. for nearly four years I would argue that many Americans (now) know all about what is happening overseas. In this era of social media and streams of information feeding us non-stop and immediate updates, it is difficult to remain uninformed about the Arab Spring, for example. As an Aussie I still, however, get asked ‘dumb’ or weird questions about Australia, but many people in my immediate world know that our Prime Minister is Julia Gillard – or at least, that she is a woman.
To all my non-American readers, know this: Americans are not dumb. I know, I know, this contradicts the stereotype, but I will go all ‘Mama Bear’ on anyone who says otherwise. Half of my family are American, the man I love is American, many of my dearest friends are American – even my cat is American. And having lived here for twelve years of my life I can speak from a place of authority when I say that the stereotype may be perpetuated by terrible reality TV, but ask yourself, how many Aussies actually say, ‘Crikey’, and bounce about playing with deadly animals? About two – and one of them died in a tragic accident.
But I digress…
Last week was the first of the presidential debates. Romney kicked Obama’s ass, which he could have done simply by staying awake. Upon reflection and some research about his ‘facts’, it turns out that he spouted a barrage of non-truths. That said, who is to say that his economic plan will or will not be any more effective than the stuff that Obama has been trying for the past few years? Neither of them can predict the future and even economists can’t agree, so how will the American people decide?
Note to Mitt: Asserting something with all your might doesn’t make it true. Your guess is as good as anybody’s, but let’s call it what it is – a guess.
So, I along with other ex-pats and people around the world will be watching this election with great interest. The world is watching America, so please guess right.