#OneVoteMatters: The Value of a Vote in America

On the results day of every American presidential election, millions across the world wait with the same anticipation of every other registered voter. Their future depends on the stature and statesmanship of American democracy.

I woke up the day Donald Trump would be declared president elect in trepidation. At the international school I attended, students and staff not only shared a similar sentiment, but more deeply a concern for the future of their countries politics. My friends were scared. Teachers let us watch the news.

And the news was so very important.

The United States has nearly 300 embassies overseas. Active duty troops are stationed in approximately 150 nations. Our government provides aid to Ukraine in its four year war with Russia, bilateral support in Afghanistan against ISIS-K and al-Qaeda and humanitarian aid for Syrian refugees. Next year the budget for foreign assistance is $27.7 billion.  

In our version of America, the current conversation jolts between racial divides, sexual assault allegations and gun violence. We aim to set an example of progressive rights and unfaltering democracy, because since 1776 our goal has been self-improvement. Our commitment to freedom has made our votes the strongest and the loudest. But globally, the conversation is often basic rights, NATO, NAFTA and U.N. resolutions. It’s necessary to state that women cannot vote in every country, that corruption is prevalent in other governments and that in many places, a voice is far from free.

There were almost 158 million registered voters in 2016. Around 58 percent of eligible voters turned out that year. So the question is, who forgot the value of their vote?

When you vote this midterm, make it for the disenfranchised and the unacknowledged. There are millions here in America and worldwide that lack the right to cast a ballot. Be heard across language divides and physical distances. It’s not just an American vote anymore.