You Americans living in another country–you really need to vote. There is a website that will help you do what you need to do in order to get registered, get a ballot, and vote in your home state. If you’re reluctant to vote, here are a few reasons why you should get over it and vote.
First, you’re still at least theoretically supposed to pay taxes to the IRS, so you might as well give your opinion on how that money should be spent. If you like your money to be spent on war and subsidizing corporations, vote Republican. If you would like a slightly smaller portion of your money to be spent on war and subsidizing corporations, vote Democrat.
Second, many of the decisions made by our elected officials are likely to still affect you, even when you live somewhere else in the world. Whether you like it or not, the US has a finger in so many pies around the globe that it’s inevitable that some of our policies will stir up problems. The current administration is amazingly adept at pissing off other countries, even close allies. For example there are frequent anti-US rallies to voice their complaints about being forced to import subsidized US beef. US meat, shipped from the other side of the planet, somehow ends up costing less to buy in stores here than locally grown Korean meat. In addition, the whole reason that Korea quit importing beef from the US in the first place was fear that it might be contaminated with mad cow disease. The purpose of ending the import of US beef was to protect public health and the Korean beef industry from contamination. After a little arm twisting by the Bush government, the Korean president changed national policy, against Korean public opinion, resulting in minimal, if any, benefit to the Korean people. And remember, unlike many other places in the world, South Korea has a generally pretty positive opinion of the US. Wherever you happen to live, think of how often you’ve gotten the stink eye from somebody when they find out you aren’t actually a Canadian? And why do so many of us seem to feel the need to say we’re Canadian anyhow?
Lastly, should you ever come back to the US, it’d be a real bummer to find that since the Republicans managed to either steal or win 3 presidential elections in a row, the Supreme Court is now full of a bunch of conservative justices that choose to more or less follow a biblical interpretation of the Constitution. In case you don’t know, supreme court justices are appointed by the president, approved by Congress, and serve either until they either retire or die. Bush has made a couple of appointments during his terms including the new Chief Justice. These appointments have shifted the court to a narrow conservative majority. If McCain gets the same opportunity, it is likely that we could see civil rights, privacy rights, environmental protection, property rights, and a whole pile of other rights that we take for granted set back for decades. Further, it is likely that wherever the US goes, so too will other nations. Nations where you may be living.
These are just a few of the reasons to vote. You may think that it doesn’t matter, or that our votes aren’t really counted, either of which could certainly be true. However, our collective indifference or inaction makes it a whole lot easier for those wielding power to successfully circumvent the interests of the majority. The decisions made in Washington do affect you, whether you live in the borders of the US or not, so exercise your rights and vote.