Today I woke up thinking it would be a good day to be American. Or that instead of being American for the day (I won't give up my Indian passport you see) all sensible and logical people in the world (i.e me) needed to be added to the electoral register for something as monumental as this American election. After all, no matter how much we disagree with it both in principal and practice, it is the American President who is the leader in many ways of the free world. Whose lead and licence allow the remaining countries to forge ahead. Or not.
I went to a school where we were taught democracy by electing a council from amidst our student body. Every civics class was made to count as we learnt both in theory and practice how democracy worked and how each voice counts. What free and fair meant. How campaigning could be ethical and how secret ballots worked.
In college the life lessons continued. The lesson of each voice counting was brought home when we were electing a student president from a senior class. After days of campaigning for two strong and fair candidates, voting day was upon us. The geeky lot like me made it our duty to go and vote having given great thought to whom we wanted as our student body leaders. Others however thought of this as just a childish exercise and stayed away. When the votes were counted it was a head-on tie. Not a vote askance. This then for me was the most important lesson of them all: If you didn't vote, your voice didn't count. Why let everyone beside yourself go to the bother of lugging themselves to the voting booth - do you not want your voice to be heard? It was a right not to be taken lightly no matter how childish it may seem when you are at school or collage I think.
I like to think I am a conscientious world citizen and voter. I take an interest in the world around me, how politics and economics and philisophy and religion shape it. I read manifestos and editorials, watch both the news and popular opinion polls and whether I have a vote or not, in my mind I vote and I know the best way forward for my world. Today I wish I were American for the day. Or had the chance to be added to that electoral register as someone sensible.
You, if you are American, have that choice today. To be sensible. To do the right thing. To take the time to think about it, how you have a place in history, a chance to right the wrongs of the past 8 years. And how your vote COUNTS!!!!
GO AND VOTE. AND PLEASE VOTE OBAMA.