Why You Should Care About U.S. Politics - Even if You Aren't American

Thursday, October 01

By Savannah Williams

I'm sure that no matter where in the world you are reading this, you heard about last nights Presidential debate. I know that for me at least, here in New Zealand, I was watching every second (and consequently updating my private story).

As someone who lives outside America but still keeps up to date with U.S. politics, something I often hear from my peers is that "it doesn't matter, we don't even live there". This is simply not the case.

It does matter. No matter where you live, I believe it is imperative that you keep up to date with politics in America and try as hard as you can to have an impact - even if you, obviously, can't vote.

The U.S. is the most powerful country in the world - politically, economically, and socially. Despite only having 5% of the population of the world, the U.S. accounts for 25% of global wealth ($17.97 trillion in 2015), 40% of military spending, and 35% of world innovation. This means that from an economic standpoint, America is constantly exporting and importing to/from other countries. America has undeniable control over the global economy, only second to China. The States account for 27% of the UN peacekeeping budget, and for 22% of the UN budget overall - the most of any UN country. Along with being a part of the UN, the States are one of the largest powers involved in NATO, a military organisation involving many North Atlantic countries. It is clear that the U.S. have a major influence domestically and globally on politics and economies. Additionally, the States have major social and cultural influence globally. When it comes to things such as slang, TV programmes, film, video games, and music, American versions of these have the largest influence and consumption globally. Although it is obvious that countries will have their own local culture and entertainment, American entertainment is consumed by almost every country globally, This is an especially important point: American media is consumed globally. 

Why is this important? Media is often influenced or inspired by politics, both in terms of content matter but also distribution. Under the leadership of a government that is willing to restrict media output that could potentially spread harmful information regarding the government itself, not only would America be facing a situation where they are unable to express political opinions freely, but the world would be facing a situation where they would be unable to listen. Of course, the current American government hasn't yet done anything drastic to restrict freedom to criticise the government (unless you count the threat to ban TikTok, although this was under the pretense of national security).

Were America to have a leader that intentionally or unintentionally bred division and hatred, things could be catastrophic. Without being partisan, I believe it is important that whoever is reading this considers whether or not that may already be happening. With division comes the inability to form valuable change - with that comes chaos. And due to America's global influence, this chaos could be unbelievably detrimental to global peace. Therefore, I believe it is vitally important for the world to be listening in on American politics, simply to make sure we are all aware of what is going on, so if division and hatred were ever to seep into the rest of the globe, we know why - and what to do to combat it.

America is unbelievably powerful. It is vital that if you are reading this from a country other than the States, wherever that may be, you take into account the power the country holds. Although you may not be able to vote, rally, or protest, keeping up to date with politics in America is so important in order to be globally politically and economically aware.

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