Tuesday, November 18, 2008

What I Did in Canada *Updated*

I gave a good bit of thought to this year's election, as did most of you. But one thing I didn't have to think about at all was whether or not to vote. Of course it's a citizen's duty to vote, but some of my dual-citizen (American-Israeli, to be precise) opted out of voting in the US election because they felt they could only vote responsibly in Israel, because they don't live in the USA any more and feel that citizenship is exclusive. I strongly disagree, for at least three reasons:

1. The USA is not just any other country, and it is disingenuous to pretend that it is. The USA is still, despite George W. Bush, the Iraq War, the economic catastrophe, the bailout, the outsourcing of manufacturing to China, the outsourcing of services to India, the USA is still the largest world power and having the opportunity to influence that power is an obligation I feel as a citizen of the world.

2. My children are US citizens and I want to do what little I can from this distance to ensure their safety and security, which definitely includes what kind of government they live under, so reason #2 is as a mother.

3. My country is so directly influenced - not controlled, but influenced - by the policies and strength of the US that anything I can do that will improve the US automatically improves Israel. So reason # 3 is as an American-Israeli, qualified: I never vote in the US election based on which candidate I think is friendlier to Israel; I vote in the US election for the candidate I think is friendlier to the US!


Tamar Orvell said...

Doing your civic duty! And I mean duty. Our president-elect (before and during the election campaign) is reminding us (as during JFK's administration) of the blessings of living in a democracy. And some of the duties incumbent on us.

Savtadotty said...

Tamar, your comment inspired me to update this post :-)

Gila said...

welcome home!

Fred said...

Well said, and welcome home.

I'm still digesting all the food I ate today...I may not eat for a few more days.

Savtadotty said...

Gila, Thanks! Soup salons resume next Friday, Dec. 5. Just sayin'

Fred, Glad to hear from you, and Happy Thanksgiving!

Georg said...

Very interesting indeed. However, at least one of your arguments (N° 3)for dual citizenship is at the same time an argument against it.

I can't help thinking it is kind of dishonest to vote in one country in order to create benefits for another one.

That makes me think of General Motors: what is good for GM is good for the United States.


Savtadotty said...

Welcome Georg!

I wouldn't vote in the USA if it were only to create benefits for Israel, or if my vote wasn't based on its benefit the USA, so I don't understand your objection to my reason No. 3. Also, if I were a dual-citizen of any other country, for example France, I might not feel comfortable voting in both countries: it's the special position of the USA as The Most Powerful Other country, as I argued in reason No. 1.