What do the Americans in Belgium think?
Like the other Americans living abroad, Americans here can have an impact on who becomes the next president of the United States.
There are some 20,000 American citizens living in Belgium.
Flandersnews asked several Americans living in Belgium who they voted for in the 2008 presidential elections and why.
Here are just a few.
Jon, lawyer, 47
Voting for Obama
Obama is a compelling figure- highly intelligent, dignified, pragmatic, a formidable communicator. My values are more closely aligned to those of the Democratic Party, across the board. The Republican Party is dysfunctional and has failed the country miserably over the last eight years.
Robyn, 46, previously worked in Criminal Justice field, currently stay at home mother
Voting for McCain
Five reasons why -
1. He is pro-life.
2. He supports the traditional family and is not supportive of degrading and devaluing traditional marriage.
3. He has shown himself to selflessly love his country whereas I question the true loyalties of his opponent (who I see as more concerned with pushing forth a personal agenda than doing what is truly in the best interests of his country).
4. His political and military experience far surpasses his neophyte opponent.
5. He understands that more government involvement in the financial and private lives of Americans is not good for our economy and deteriorates our freedoms. His opponent seems to feel that the government has the responsibility to care for us, whether we desire it or not, and does not see a problem with individuals trading personal freedoms for alleged "security."
Faustina, 53, is chair of Democrats Abroad Belgium
Voting for Obama
Living in Europe for the last two years I have witnessed first hand the erosion of the United States respect and standing in the world. An Obama Administration will reverse and restore the damage done.
By working unilaterally with all our allies we can deal with the colossal problems facing the world today, climate change, terrorism, famine, disease. Collectively, we can accomplish so much more. Barack Obama will lead by consensus.
Americans believe the war in Iraq was a mistake and we have to leave. We also know we have to do this in a responsible manner and focus on where the world's terrorist are. This is Barack Obama's plan.
Healthcare and the lack of it to many Americans is a drag on our economy. It must be addressed and not just given lip-service. Barack Obama's healthcare plan is a giant step in the right direction. The effects of a healthier working population coupled with investment in renewable energy technology are key to a strong US economy, leading to a growing global economy.
I believe Barack Obama will unite our country in ways it has never been united before. He meets those who differ with him on common ground and works from there within our laws to get through an issue. He is new to Washington. That is good. He is not entrenched with special interest groups or lobbyists. He is wise, cautious and has surrounded himself with the best minds in our country. He instills confidence.
Laurie, 47, Journalist and Founder of 'Belgium for Obama'
Votinf for Obama
•Obama would cut taxes for 95% of Americans (those earning less than $227,000 a year), whereas McCain would cut taxes on top earners.
•Obama believes health care, guaranteed in every developed nation but the U.S., should be a right, while McCain states health care is a responsibility.
•Obama was an early opponent of the invasion of Iraq, accurately predicting the consequences.
•While Obama has pushed for renewables like wind and solar, McCain has missed all eight votes on renewable energy in the Senate this year.
•The Obama campaign believes in expanding the right to vote, and has registered millions of new voters. The McCain campaign has criticized these efforts and the GOP has pursued litigation in key states, complicating the voting process and discouraging voters from casting ballots.
As an American abroad, I have seen first hand the disastrous global consequences of 8 years of George W. Bush The election of Barack Obama will usher in a new era of progressive attitudes, environmental stewardship, international cooperation and a reversal of the destructive policies of the outgoing administration.
In 1776, Thomas Jefferson penned these lines of the Declaration of Independence: "....Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it, and to institute new Government....".
Barack Obama, whose life and path to the white house is the embodiment of the story of America, spoke of this most basic fabric of American Democracy in his historic speech at the Democratic National Convention:
"I stand before you tonight because all across America something is stirring. What the naysayers don't understand is that this election has never been about me. It's about you. It's about you. For 18 long months, you have stood up, one by one, and said enough to the politics of the past. You understand that in this election, the greatest risk we can take is to try the same old politics with the same old players and expect a different result. You have shown what history teaches us -- that at defining moments like this one, the change we need doesn't come from Washington. Change comes to Washington. Change happens because the American people demand it -- because they rise up and insist on new ideas and new leadership, a new politics for a new time. America, this is one of those moments."
Click here to visit the Belgium for Obama site
Paul, 49, Finance & Accounting
Reasons for voting McCain.
1. Republican Candidate
2. Republican Platform
3. Democrats are tax & spend social redistribution of income
4. VOTE REPUBLICAN!!!!!!
David, 31,Formerly an international project manager, currently focusing on language school and seeking work.
Voting for Obama
Reasons for voting for Barack Obama:
There are many reasons that I voted for Barack Obama with my vote from abroad absentee ballot. These reasons include:
1) I am originally from Chicago, Illinois. Obama started his political career there and through the years has been an inspiration to our government on the city and state level and later on a national level as a U.S. Senator. I was lucky enough to have had the opportunity to experience and live with his new vision on politics from it's start. He has been a respectful and inspirational politician since the beginning.
2) I have read one of the books that Barack has written. The title "The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream" and has given a new and optimistic view of the future of American and world politics. I found myself while reading the book to not only be inspired on a political level but also in many other aspects of my live including professional and personal. It is not a book solely to be looked at as political but insightful and inspirational on all levels.
3) In my opinion, the current issues facing Americans and also global are large and diverse. But the issues that I have been following closely are
• a) The struggles and wars through out the world. A lot of them have been mismanaged and the outcomes are undefined. I think Obama has a better grasp on world politics and our co-existence.
• b) Issues currently being faced by the LGBT community. Although his political stance on same-sex marriage differs from my own, I feel that he still has a clear path in offering equality to all citizens. He opposes constitutional bans on same-sex marriage which at least a step in the right direction.
• c) The current state of the world economy. Barack Obama has shown to better in tune with what the problems are and how they must be managed in order to strengthen the current state of the economy. He also shows a better plan to handle the issue currently but also what guidelines need to be in place in order to prevent future economical crisis's
4) Having been actively aware of the issues, the debates, and the dealings of both major candidates. I feel Obama is not only the better candidate but also is the only one that shows true inspirational leadership and is focused on an optimistic future. I look forward to his election and how this will bring positive changes.
John, 33, student
Voting for Bob Barr
1. I believe in free markets
2. I do not believe that any entity (individual or collective) has the right to demand an individual to reliquish their property.
3. I do not believe it is the government's responsibility to manage its citizen's lives from the cradle to the grave, e.g., healthcare, education reform, social security, and so on.
4. I respect nation sovereignty and believe nations should stay out of the internal affairs of other nations
5. I respect the rights of individuals to decide for themselves just how they will live, e.g., on issues such as gun ownership, abortion, and gay marriage, so long as these choices do not impose on anothers individual liberty.
Why are you voting differently from your usual political affiliation?
The republican party is currently not fiscally conservative enough.
(flandersnews.be/Expatica November 2008)