September 26, 2004


Shouldn't we get a vote?: The truth is, Washington's decisions affect us more than those taken in Canberra. (Jonathan Freedland, September 27, 2004, The Age)

There's a reason every newspaper in the world will have the same story on its front page on November 3. The American presidential election will be decisive not just for the US but for the future of the world.

Anyone who doubts this need only look at the past four years. The war against Iraq, the introduction of the doctrine of pre-emption, the direct challenge to multilateral institutions - chances are, not one of these world-changing developments would have happened under a President Al Gore. It is no exaggeration to say that the actions of a few hundred voters in Florida changed the world.

So perhaps it's time to make a modest proposal. If everyone in the world will be affected by this presidential election, shouldn't everyone in the world have a vote in it?

It may sound wacky, but the idea could not be more American. After all, the country was founded on the notion that human beings must have a say in the decisions that govern their lives. The rebels' slogan of "No taxation without representation" endures two centuries later because it speaks about something larger than the narrow business of raising taxes. It says that those who pay for a government's actions must have a right to choose the government that takes them.

How about European gets a few electoral votes as soon as they repay us what we've spent saving and covering them in WWI, WWII, the Cold War and the War on Terror?

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 26, 2004 12:02 PM

It sounds to me like this guy is advocating that the US annex Australia.

Posted by: Timothy at September 26, 2004 1:36 PM

Sure, make Australia the 51st state - and maybe the ostrich can become our new national symbol. (To hear some talk, maybe it already is.)

Posted by: John Barrett Jr. at September 26, 2004 1:48 PM

Hey, it worked for Texas, so far.

(But one non-negotiable requirement would be to drive on the proper side of the road. At least the Canadians got that right.)

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at September 26, 2004 3:09 PM

Somebody should refer these guys to read the fable of the Little Red Hen. As you pont out, theey are more than willing to vote in our elections but leave us to pay the taxes all on our own. Maybe somebody should also point out that then *can* vote in US elections. All they need to do is become a US citizen.

Posted by: ray at September 26, 2004 3:16 PM

Maybe also get them a dictionary, so they can figure out the difference between "represented by" and "affected by".

Posted by: ray at September 26, 2004 3:19 PM

FYI, This originally appeared in al-Gruniad (The Guardian). Hence the self-righteous, condescending, not to mention complete hypocrisy of the content.

Posted by: MB at September 26, 2004 4:36 PM

This isn't as absurd as it looks. Under similar circumstances during the Roman Republic, Rome's "allies" tried revolting against Roman unilateralism. The revolt was stopped by giving them the right to vote in Roman elections ... which soon became more useless than ever.

On the other hand, the fact that it isn't absurd implies it's more dangerous than it looks.

It can also be applied within the U.S. Since New York is the most influential city in the U.S., clearly it should let the rest of the U.S. vote for mayor. ... Wait a minute, it's starting to make sense now ...

Posted by: Joseph Hertzlinger at September 26, 2004 9:04 PM

One of the best arguments for term limits was that it put a check on states like Mass. that insisted on repeately inflicting a Ted Kennedy, Patrick Leahy or Robert Byrd (or in fairness, Strom Thurmond or Ted Stevens) on the rest of the country.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at September 27, 2004 12:02 AM

> Sure, make Australia the 51st state

But not till we have national preemption of restrictive state firearms regulations!

Posted by: at September 27, 2004 3:41 AM