In the days leading up to the presidential election, a few acquaintances had the nerve to ask me, "Are you going to vote? Why bother if you're moving to Argentina?"
I balked at the preposterous and rather offensive notion that I would stop caring about the direction and leadership of my country just because I'll live outside its borders. I also found it hard to believe that someone would think that policy decisions made in the U.S. would have no repercussions for me living abroad. No matter where life takes me, no matter where I rest my head at night, I'll always be American. I'll always have a stake in the fate of this country.
While on vacation in Argentina, I was floored by the number of Argentines who wanted to discuss the election and who I was voting for. In Argentina, voting is compulsory, and though not mandated by law here in the U.S., I felt obligated to make the effort to participate in a decision that has so much impact. If Argentines take that much interest in our election, shouldn't I, as an American?
And now here we are, the morning after. The votes have been tallied, and a winner has been proclaimed. Today is a proud day, a special day, because our country succeeded in doing something I wasn't sure we could do: we, as a people, elected a black man to lead us. Fellow blogger Jackson Bliss writes poignantly about this turning point in our nation's history. But beyond the issue of race, we voted for change, for a new direction for the United States. Only time will tell if President-Elect Obama is prepared to face the weighty challenges ahead. Without question, he is inheriting a broken country, and I pray that he has the leadership and know-how to fix it.
I'll be watching from afar, Mr. Obama, and I won't be the only one. The global community wants to believe in us again, as discussed in The New York Times article "The Promise - For Many Abroad, an Ideal Renewed." People across the globe are counting on you to restore honor, dignity and true diplomacy to the White House after your predecessor just about stomped those ideals into oblivion. Please don't let us down.