Election 2012 – The World is Watching

The 45th President of the United States.

Today, we’ll choose the next President of the United States.  This election has been particularly interesting, as people feel strongly about their chosen candidate and the associated platform.  What we tend to forget is that the world is watching…

The Global Stage

In the two weeks leading up to the 2008 election, I had a number of business meetings abroad.  In every country I visited, people stopped and asked me for whom I was voting.  In Canada and the UK, this wasn’t surprising, as they are connected with the States in many ways.

In Africa, however, I was shocked when people asked me about the election. They’d ask, “Are you an American?” When I said yes, I was asked a barrage of questions.

I was astounded by the African’s knowledge of the issues, the candidates and their platforms.  I had some of the most interesting and thought-provoking conversations on politics I had in my entire life.  Our election was the topic on virtually every television channel in every country I visited.

What a stark contrast to the US where some Americans are unable to name our own Secretary of State – let alone the Prime Minister of the UK or Canada without checking a smart phone.  (Hint – David Cameron and Stephen Harper respectively)


As a nation, we tend to focus on the issues closest to home – our jobs, our businesses, our schools, and the local economy – because that’s what we see and feel the impact of daily.  We tend to forget our vote today influences not just the course of our nation – but the world.

In one of the conversations about the 2008 election, I was introduced to the South African concept of “Ubuntu.” There is no better day than today to share that concept with you.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu explained Ubuntu as “…You can’t exist as a human being in isolation. It speaks about our interconnectedness. You can’t be human all by yourself, and when you have this quality – Ubuntu – you are known for your generosity. We think of ourselves far too frequently as just individuals, separated from one another, whereas you are connected and what you do affects the whole World. When you do well, it spreads out; it is for the whole of humanity.”[i]

One Vote, One World

We are privileged to live and work in a country where we can choose our leader and influence the path of our future, and to be in a nation where the transfer of power is done with an election – not a war.  It’s days like today that I’m proud of our country.  Is it perfect?  Of course not, but no system is.  Yet, we do live in a land of opportunity even during recessions.

As you walk to the polls today, think about the future you are choosing for your town, state, nation and the influence it will have on the world.  Think about who you want to represent you on the global stage.  Think about ubuntu as you fill out your ballot.

Choose wisely.  The world is watching.

[i] Desmond Tutu – “Ubuntu Women Institute USA (UWIU) with SSIWEL as its first South Sudan Project” further explained Ubuntu in 2008.

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