Friday, June 25, 2010

World Cup brings dreams of a World Election

It isn't easy to unite the world's attention in one place for one common purpose. Sport does it every two years: the Olympics during presidential summers and the World Cup two years later. It is a wonderful thing to remember that we Americans have much more in common with the people of Asia, Africa, Europe and South America than we differ, and following the rules and results of a soccer tournament at the same time as everyone else in the world is a palpable example of our commonality. 

The best and noblest extension of our essential commonality is a world election where all the people of the world have one vote.

Imagine it: candidates stumping for votes in different languages and in different continents, appealing to the better instincts of all of humankind. The same strong sense of national purpose that a presidential election generates when each citizen is asked to help shape the future of their country with their vote would be felt by all the people of the world as they are asked to help shape the future of the world.

Closer to home, we have a lot in common with the people of Mexico. Our economies are inextricably linked. Our labor markets and immigration policies are essentially two sides of the same coin. Our drug policies and violent crime challenges are similarly tied together. But we never get a chance to vote together -- Mexicans and Americans - ideas and proposals to improve our standard of living and solve problems. The nature of separate elections leads us away from thinking about solutions that improve lives on both sides of the Rio Grande. Imagine, instead, elections for something -- it almost doesn't matter what the office would be -- where we both voted among candidates looking for votes equally from Mexicans and Americans. Imagine the shifted dynamics in the development of the public will and the candidate platforms when millions more matter in the results of the election. Imagine the debates, both between the candidates and among the electorate, when everyone affected by the policies gets an equal vote in the outcome.

That democratic spirit could sweep the entire world.

For the first time in the history of the world, thanks largely to information technology, it is feasible for billions of us (if not quite all six billion of us) to vote in the same election at about the same time and all participate in the same debate on how best to improve our shared circumstances. 

I want to join a world debate triggered by an world election in my lifetime. Because the debate, discussion and eventual decision by the people will be among the best steps towards justice for all the people of the world we can possibly take.

"Why should there not be a patient confidence in the ultimate justice of the people? Is there any better, or equal hope in the world?" Abraham Lincoln

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