My wife and I have been living outside the US for 5 years now. It has been interesting to view America from the outside. You don't realize it when you're living there, but the media that you're exposed to is very US-centric. It really is like being inside a bubble. Americans don't really get exposed much to how the rest of the world sees the US. America used to be the guiding light, the inspiration for other nations, the country where everyone wanted to emigrate to and start a new life. Well, that reputation has taken a hell of a beating over the last 8 years and especially the past 4-5 years -- mostly because of the Bush administration and the Republican party. The foreign policy. The war in Iraq. The environmental policy. The aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. And Bush acting like a complete idiot everywhere he goes. That's to name just a few. But you know what? You can't solely blame Bush and his cronies. And let me tell you, they aren't the only ones being targeted for criticism by the world outside the bubble. The comment we hear the most often over here is "How could you guys elect that idiot twice?" They have a point. We dropped the ball. We let the whole world down. And now we just look like a bunch of jerks with egg on our faces. The common retort to hearing about what the rest of the world thinks about us is: "Who cares what the rest of the world thinks?! This is America. This is an American election." This to me is such an ignorant, short-sighted response. One thing many Americans don't seem to understand is that the US is a PART OF THE WORLD. It is not secluded inside a bubble. Our actions have a GLOBAL effect. That is why this election is SO important. We need to prove to the world that we're not a bunch of apathetic assholes squandering the whole idea behind democracy. We need to prove that we can take RESPONSIBILITY for how we live and how that affects the entire world. To bring the US back to its roots as an inspiration and as a good example, we need a president that is intelligent, articulate, open-minded, aware, and inspiring. I can't vote because I'm not a citizen (yet), so I really want to encourage every eligible person to vote. By now, it is obvious how I would vote if I was able to, but of course, I am not going to be so crass as to try bullying you to vote the same way. I just really would like to ask that you vote, period. (Hopefully, most of you will vote for Obama, though!) My wife and I are moving back to the US on November 19th. A McCain/Palin win is almost enough to make me change my mind about coming back at all and I really want to come back, so please help! A lot of people hold onto the belief/custom that one should not talk about politics with friends, family, or coworkers. That your political stance is a private matter. To a certain point, I can agree with that. BUT NOT IN THIS ELECTION. Please do everything you can to get out there and make your opinions known. Bother your friends and family. Take the risk! A note to anyone who doesn't believe in voting: Apathy is not an option anymore. Did you know that there are statistically more Democrats in the US than Republicans? There are 72 million registered Democrats, 55 million Republicans, and 42 million Independents (though this data is from 2004, the numbers couldn't have changed enough to make a noticeable difference). If all 72 million voted, the win would be by a healthy margin. So please make plans to vote. Set aside the time now. Plan ahead. And please encourage everyone you know to do the same. If you haven't registered, you need to get on the ball because the deadlines are right around the corner. You can find out what your state's deadline at Rock the vote dot com. And if you are overseas, your deadline is October 3rd. More info at Overseas Vote Foundation dot com.