The U.S. is a powerful country, not because of its size, not even because of its governors, but because of its people. The same people, however, do not always take into account how important the president of this country is, not only for the U.S., but for the entire world.
Abraham Lincoln was the first U.S. president who understood that this country was not only made for white people. He understood that America is a place for diversity. Accepting this idea is what led this country to function adequately.
Since the development of the different media platforms during the Cold War and the evolution of Internet, the U.S. has made its political “life” not only interesting for its citizens, but for an international public as well.
James Schmidt, junior in public relations, said the importance of American politics in the world is based on the ideas of defense and immigration that this country holds toward others.
“I think the United States has a lot of influence on a lot of countries,” Schmidt said. “I think a lot of countries rely on the U.S. for defense, and also as far as immigration goes, I think those are the most important issues internationally.”
It is true: Immigration and defense are both very important topics that the international public should look at. How then, would the 2016 elections not be important to people from other countries, especially for international students who are living in this country at this time when the No. 1 issue for this elections is in fact immigration?
Jennifer Friedmann, organizer for the Hillary for Kansas campaign in Manhattan, highlighted the opportunity that we, as international students, have to get involved in choosing the next leader of this country.
Depending on your beliefs and values, you could be involved by just being informed about the candidates and their beliefs, or possibly volunteering for a campaign. We have the incredible opportunity to be in a place where our voices matter, and even if we cannot vote for the next president, we have the option to support or not support any of the nine candidates who are still running.
“It’s very much in your interest as international students here to partake in campaign politics because the future leader of the U.S. will have a lot of influence over your lives, whether or not they deserve it,” Friedmann said.
Marija Stambolic, junior in public relations from Belgrade, Serbia, said she does not have a candidate she supports because she is not voting, but that the issue she thinks is the most important is education and whether or not the quality of it will change.
I was working in Washington, D.C. when the first few candidates announced they were running for president. Living in Washington, D.C. means breathing, hearing, even smelling politics everywhere.
Washington, D.C. is an extremely diverse city with people from almost every country, which could be attributed to the number of embassies located there, or maybe just because Washington, D.C. could be synonymous with the words freedom and democracy.
This is the worst election I have seen in a long time. When you watch the debates, it feels like you are watching Jeopardy or some type of reality show. Every time Donald Trump is in the middle of the stage I feel like he is going to pick the next apprentice. There just does not seem to be any strong candidates.
Conversely, I am still interested in how they all manage to win that “Jeopardy.” Why do I keep watching when it looks so bad? The answer is because of the political influence of the U.S. all over the world.
Influence, not only in myself as a political junkie and international student, but most importantly to other countries like Paraguay — where I’m from — which is indisputably stronger than any other influence of any other country in the world.
Maybe next year it will not be this way. Maybe China or India will be the strongest influence one day. That, however, is why it is important for us as students, American or international, to speak up now, now that we still have the chance to make a difference.
Lincoln once said, “To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men,” according to About.com. I want to be neither a sinner nor a coward, so I choose to speak my mind. What about you?