Europe and the American Presidential Election
In the minds of Europeans there are two stereotypes of American voters which are unfortunately accurate. For one, many Americans lack any knowledge whatsoever of European politics. How many can name the president of France, the chancellor of Germany, or the prime minister of the United Kingdom? Who even knew that France, Germany, and the U.K. called their heads-of-state presidents, chancellors, and prime ministers? The second unfortunate impression of American elections is our undeniably low voter turnout. I’ve spent the past two months studying political science in Europe and doing so in a presidential election year has given me certain insights which I hope will give you some incentive to get out and vote today.
Europeans, and people all over the world, care much more about our elections than you may be aware of. Despite claims that the United States is losing its status as a global superpower, our government still has a large amount of political weight to throw around. The United States military is the largest in the world, our economy is one to be reckoned with, and numerous countries depend on us for support. Europeans recognize this, and also genuinely care about our domestic well-being, too. Newspaper covers here in Germany regularly show photos of Obama and Romney after debates and nearly everyone is talking about who will win.
I was discussing the election with a Frenchman one time and he told me that I was very lucky to get to vote for the American president. I told him I hadn’t thought of it that way before but I agreed. He went on to point out that millions of people depend on the decision about who will lead the United States, as an individual voter I had more power than most people across the world. I would like to remind everyone back in the states how lucky we are. Whether you consider yourself a Republican or a Democrat, want a third party candidate to win, or don’t really like any of them, the global community cares what you think. So get out and vote, because the world depends on it.
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