Op-Ed: Only in Israel Series: US Voting is a Right and a Duty
Dr. Harold GoldmeierThe writer is a former Research and Teaching Fellow at Harvard University where he received his doctorate. He served in the administrations of three U. S. Governors, is a business management consultant with a personal interest in education and NGOs.
American Olim, immigrants living in Israel who retain American citizenship, tell me they plan to vote in the Presidential election this November. “I predict we will vote in record numbers,” declared a representative of IVOTEISRAEL, a voter registration NGO. Concomitantly, polls in America predict a smaller turnout among African Americans, Hispanics, married and single women, white young people, and old folks. The handlers worry who has the best image, when they should focus on which organization can get out the vote.
This will be my first vote away from home, and my wife and I plan to cast our ballots "early and often"—as we say in Chicago, but not quite with the same meaning. We are not alone. There are over 163,000 American eligible voters living in Israel. More than 700,000 Americans now call Mexico their place of residence. Nearly 200,000 U.S. citizens live in the United Kingdom.
Democrat and Republican activists know their constituencies are less than enthusiastic in 2012 than in the last Presidential election. The economy is floundering; more people are finding it harder to get jobs; salaries are stagnant; purchasing power for food, gas, and medical care is declining. We are still slogging in Afghanistan, and it amazes me there is still anybody left in Iraq for the terrorists to blow up. Bankers still do not go to jail, and everyday brings a new scandal; the rest of the world seems in chaos (especially Europe and the Middle East); schools are worse off than ever; a dead locked Congress adds to the malaise. Neither candidate seems to have the answers.
A National Urban League Policy Institute official, worried their agenda is victim to a futilitarian electorate reminds them about 2008 Florida “that every vote counts.” The Center for American Electorate predicts youth turnout to drop significantly from the last election, because young people lost interest in the political process. Married women might turn out in higher numbers than single women, according to a research firm, but both parties fear low turnout from these two power centers.
Personally, I am putting my faith this year in the predictions of Lynn Hayes and her associates. She is a practicing astrological consultant working in the field for 25 years. At the June United Astorology Conference were experts representing the fields of Uranian astrology and Cosmobiology, Indian and Vedic astrology, Medieval, Renaissance, Modern western, and Hellenistic astrology.
Charts for both Romney and Obama were made based on the date for the oath of office and the 2012 Winter Solstice. Other techniques they used for predicting the election include the Aries ingress, transits and progressions, solar returns, and ancient and complex Hellinistic techniques. Hayes, always the contrarian, argues, “The day of the election the transiting Moon will be in Libra, transiting the Midheaven of the US Sibley chart and both are squared by the transiting Sun. The Sun will be sitting right on the US Jupiter which bodes well for voter turnout. Transiting Uranus is inconjunct the US progressed Sun which suggests an upset.” I am not going to tell you which candidte Hayes predicts will win, but she is definite in her opinion people will show up to vote.
Writing about voting as an oleh evoked numerous emails and phone calls for and against Obama. It was an email from the retired General Manager for America’s largest independent television stations, an American Jewish friend of mine that startled me. “I question why Americans who have made alliyah, particularly those who have lied (sic…he means lived) in Israel for a decade or more, should vote in American elections. “
Not vote, because I spend more time overseas than in America?
Not vote in the country that gave a home to my refugee father and uncles during World War II?
But I love America. Not vote in the country that gave a home to my refugee father and uncles during World War II; that gave the world Eisenhower to beat Hitler? Not vote where I, my sister, and wife received a free public education? Not vote where I got the opportunity to be a patrol boy, and free hot chocolate on cold winter days; being able to go to the Hebrew school of my choice; the Chicago Cubs; low interest student loans that got me and my children higher education degrees?
Not vote when I was proud every school morning to pledge allegiance to the flag, and to this day melt thinking about that one nation, under God, striving for liberty and justice for all?
I am not an ex-pat who renounced my citizenship. I file U.S. income taxes, have children living there we worry about, long for a Chicago hot dog, and I pay an American company for my overseas phone calls that collects tax from me when I pay my bill.
I love America. Voting gives me moaning and groaning rights. I predict a higher percentage of eligible voters will turnout in November of Americans living in other countries, than those who can fall out of bed into the polling booths.
To not vote is un-American, and the greatest threat to a free and great nation.