Overseas American: To Vote or Not To Vote?

Posted by Katherine | May 20, 2008 – 9:44 am
Israeli and American flags
[paulcalypse / Flickr]

Haim Watzman is an Israeli-American writer living in Jerusalem. Born in Ohio and raised in Maryland, he moved to Israel after college with no intention of returning to the US. Although he’s kept his American passport and dutifully pays the IRS every year, he hasn’t voted in an American election since 1980, believing that he shouldn’t cast ballots in two countries. This year, though, his 14-year-old daughter Misgav is making him reconsider the wisdom of this. (Hat tip to Ann Raber.) The leader of America, after all, has a huge impact on his family:

[T]he results of American elections undoubtedly affect my life as much as do the results of Israeli elections. […] [M]y family is less physically safe because of the Bush administration’s misguided invasion of Iraq and its failure to pursue a vigorous diplomatic initiative between Israel and the Palestinians. My income, largely dollar-based, has declined by more than a quarter over the past year because of the Bush administration’s insane economic policies. […]

The fiasco of 2000 showed us that every vote counts.

This coming U.S. election will in large measure set the course of my children’s lives. So maybe Misgav is right. Maybe I should set my principles aside and cast that vote.

Misgav’s real agenda seems not to be simply getting her father to vote… but getting him to vote for Barack Obama.


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