Tanzania is pretty far away from the United States.
Still, Tanzania was holding her breath last week as the U.S. went into elections.
I was by myself in our bedroom when the electoral count on the BBC website jumped from 207 to 297. I was pulling my jeans on and calling out to my empty house, "Hey! Doesn't that mean he won? Doesn't that mean he won?"
Yes, that meant that Barack Obama had won. So I jumped into the car and drove through our early morning traffic to a gathering point in town where I could hear his acceptance speech live. (And I would have jumped into my car to hear McCain's speech as well, lest you wonder.)
There were over 100 expats in the restaurant and we were certainly not all Americans. There were Dutch and English and French and Australian and Greeks and Canadians with Tanzanians and I don't know who all.
I'm sure I've mentioned that I have lived basically my entire adult life outside of the United States. Can I tell you that I have never experienced a scene where so many non-Americans were genuinely excited for and happy about the U.S. ?
I know that many people inside the States say, "We don't care what the rest of the world thinks. This is not about them."
Yes, some Americans do truly believe that this is not anyone else's concern.
I'm not saying that we have to agree with the conclusion the rest of the world came to early on in these elections about who they would like to see in the White House. But to think that what happens in our politics doesn't concern them is just kind of naive, really.
As a citizen who loves her nation--the most powerful nation on the planet, the less than 5% of the world's population that controls 20% of the world's wealth and consumes 25% of her resources, the country that wields power and influence on every continent--all I can say to those who want to hold to the line that this is only about the U.S. is... "I beg to differ."
May we use our influence and resources well.