Eretz Yisrael Time

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Sunday, October 05, 2008
If you didn't catch the drift of the previous post.

Go and register to vote before it is to late.

(And do not vote for Obama).


Anonymous said...

I'm an oleh from America. But I don't live in America anymore, and don't intend to in the future. I don't want to vote for politicians in a place I don't live. And frankly, I don't want Israeli expatriates voting here either. When you're not directly affected by the outcome, it's too easy to be out of touch with what's best for those are, and to irresponsibly choose a candidate based on some narrow set of interests, while maintaining the luxury of simply not having to deal with whatever other ugly policies the candidate may unleash. It's simply not fair. Am I crazy? How come there's no debate over this? Why is it so regularly taken for granted that that anyone who legally CAN vote somewhere SHOULD, and that the only possible reasons someone could have for not voting are laziness and apathy?

Anonymous said...

Romain: You raise a lot of good points, but consider what you are saying.

The law in America is Universal Suffrage regardless of why you are voting or what your circumstances are.

There was a time when women couldn't vote, and even today some people say illiterate people shouldn't vote because they can’t understand the issues.

Perhaps immigrants to America with their different value systems shouldn't ever be allowed to vote either. After all, they are new to the system, and don’t share the same concerns or values as the rest of the country, and probably don’t understand the issues very well.

When you start down that road of who shouldn’t vote, you find it's a slippery slope.

It is a serious misconception that Americans aren’t voting for their candidates based on some narrow and limited set of interests.

Shouldn't we then restrict voting from people who select their candidate solely based on their position on Abortion and nothing else? And there are plenty of people that do that, and they would be very easy to find as we would simply just need to check what organizations they are a member of.

Perhaps we should restrict the vote from people who are solely concerned with the candidate’s position on the war on Iraq and nothing else? And there are plenty of people who do that too.

And if education is a centerpiece of a candidate’s campaign, should people without children be allowed to vote, after all, it won’t affect them?

Should someone in Alaska really be allowed to vote when they are so disconnected from issues that affect the majority on the mainland? After all, someone is Alaska is going to have a very different view on offshore drilling than someone is Iowa, and that may be the only issue that bothers them.

If I deny citizens the right to vote for whatever reason, they can and will turn around try to deny me the vote in return, for whatever reason.

In reality, everyone votes based on what interests them, and that can and often is on something as narrow as a single insignificant issue that will never affect them personally, or even how the candidate’s hair appears on TV (Reagan).

For Americans living in Israel, that issue includes how America will treat Israel, because they believe that a strong and healthy Israel, and a US with a strong and healthy relationship with Israel is GOOD for America (and for Israel).

Furthermore, I believe that many Americans living abroad (not just in Israel) look and understand the candidates’ foreign policies (not just on Iraq) far more in depth than those living in America as they understand it from experience, and good foreign policy is important to America’s interests too.

And finally, as someone who is required to file taxes and pay taxes to the US which means US sovereignty affects me regardless of where I live, I absolutely refuse to relinquish my right to vote for a candidate who does and will affect my life.

In short, at the most basic level, no taxation without representation.

Anonymous said...

Of course, I will need to address the issue of Israelis abroad voting in the upcoming Israeli election in a future post.

Anonymous said...

You're absolutely right that it's a slippery slope. Yet, lines are drawn. One could make the case that a Canadian living right over the border, with business contacts, financial investments, friends and family in America should be able to vote in the elections as well. But he's not, because on average, there's little justification for foreigners to vote. And indeed, no one legitimate voter living in the country will consider every issue or be affected by every policy. Often the connection will be slight. But on average, someone living outside the country has much less motivation to vote responsibly, and much greater impunity for bad choices. Someone in America might stupidly vote for a candidate cause of their hair, but they're likely to also pay the price if the policies are bad ... and maybe they'll vote more wisely next time around.

I'm not saying that expats should necessarily be barred from voting, on a legal level. For one thing, I'm not sure how the govt. would reliably and unintrusively determine who's abroad permanently, and who temporarily. And there are certainly good reasons an expat might have to vote, such as if they pay taxes to America (which you do, but I don't), or if they still spend a significant amount of time there (which I don't). But at the very least, each individual should thoughtfully consider for himself whether he has any business voting or not, and people shouldn't be blindly encouraged to vote, IMHO.

Anonymous said...

But on average, someone living outside the country has much less motivation to vote responsibly, and much greater impunity for bad choices.

No less motivation than someone who continuously votes for someone because of a single policy that concerns them.

Abortion rights activists will only vote for the abortion candidate regardless of his other views, and how it affects them negatively.

In Israel, I have always (and consistently) voted for a party has never gotten elected to Knesset, because I feel that that it is the only party that properly represents my views, and I don't want to compromise with a party that doesn't.

You can say I should be motivated by now to vote for a party that will get in, but I see it differently.

By voting my way, I am telling the party (NU) that got in, that they could have had my vote if only they would either modify their policies a bit, or accept the candidate (Marzel) I wanted into their party. They know exactly how many votes they lose by their actions and how many seats that translates into (2), and I am hoping to provide them with the motivation to do the right thing next time around.

Voting is a 2 way street sometimes, and it is also a crap shoot. You don't know what you are getting, but people vote either because the guy has charisma and presents well on TV (Obama) or because he will be good for America and represents values that are good for America (McCain).

IF G"F Obama wins, he will be a 1 term president as everyone will learn and be motivated to vote properly, but why does America and the rest of the world have to suffer?

But the issue isn't whether a Canadian should vote, as he has his own representation that protects him from America (or not) , but rather if the American citizen in Canada should vote, and it boils down to that it has nothing to do with Geography in this global village, but rather simply sovereignty and citizenship.

As an aside, when I turned 18 I registered for the draft (Selective Service) as is (was?) required by law. It was the scariest thing I ever did at that point in my life (and I did a lot of scary things even at that young age).

The paper sat on my desk for months as I considered it, even if there was no draft or war on the horizon.

That act alone, as far as I am concerned, has given me the right to vote for the rest of my life, wherever I may live.

Anonymous said...

I should also add, that I haven't voted in every US election in the past.

There was a time where I felt that I shouldn't as I don't live there (and I probably wouldn't vote in a local mayor/judge/governor election if given the chance), but President is someone who does affect me directly on the issues that most concern and affect my life, and I feel now that I have an obligation to protect what is important to me.

wrongwayhome said...

The tragedy is that those living outside the United States have much more reason to vote as the country's aggressive foreign policy impacts people all over the world.

I agree, however, that Israelis should not vote abroad. Will you vote even though you live outside the legal State of Israel? Should Palestinians have the right to vote if they are your neighbour and are even more deeply affected by Israeli policy than you are?

You can delete this comment, of course, and call me post- or anti- whatever you want. But that would mean shirking an interesting quesetion which I think shold be addressed: voting policy in a globalized world at large, and in a mixed citizen/non-citizen population like in the area not formally annexed to Israel but under Israeli control.

Anonymous said...

sarah, you didn't say anything that was anti- or post-. You raised an interesting question in a respectful manner.

I do plan to address this issue on whether Israelis outside of Israel should vote in Israeli elections.

Anonymous said...

As for Palestinians, I think they should vote in the Jordanian (Palestine) elections, as after all they do make up more than 80% of the population across the Jordan river.

Anonymous said...

As for Palestinians, I think they should vote in the Jordanian (Palestine) elections, as after all they do make up more than 80% of the population across the Jordan river.

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