I’m not American and my friends know me as a Jamaican national. I have never been to the United States and I don’t plan to in the near future. I had hoped a while back to visit, but given all that may happen, I’m not holding out hope.
Now, as a foreigner to my United States friends, I have seen where Americans are not happy when someone like me voices my opinions on the presidential race. What Americans do not realize is that what happens in the US happens to the rest of the world. Here are some reasons why your presidential race matters to the rest of us.
- Within the western hemisphere, the United States of America is the standard used to gauge other countries. The US is said to be the wealthiest country in the world and holds the world power. All other countries thrive to be like the US.
- A country like Jamaica is directly affected by what happens in the US, because our GDP is determined by the value of the US dollar. Our main source of economic growth is due to exports to the United States, tourism from the US, money transfers from family members from the US. All these affect our economic growth.
- Jamaica has nearly 3 million people living on the island. However, nearly 3 million people are in the diaspora. More than 50% of the diaspora is from the US. We have family and friends living legally in the United States. Of course, we also have families who are there illegally. Therefore, what happens with this election directly affects those families. The talk of deportation is heavily discussed on a regular basis and most families are worried about how they will survive. Even people pliving there legally are worried that if a certain person becomes president, things will get choppy.
- There is a saying we have in Jamaica that when the United State sneezes, Jamaica catches a cold. Most of our imports come from the US, we depend on the US dollar for our survival. Everything that happens there directly or indirectly affects us. We are so tied in with the US that when your stocks fall, there is an inflation in our economy. Whenever US gas prices increase, we are certain to also get an increase in our gas prices and when that happens, everything else goes up; electric bills, food items, rent and other amenities.
- The issuing of US visitor and resident visas are also affected by civil unrest, terrorist threats and whosever becomes president.
Therefore, American friends, please do not quench our opinions by telling us to be quiet. Whether you know it or not; or whether you like it or not, your presidential elections of 2016 matters to the rest of us. This election in particular is of utmost importance to the rest of us.
By extension, this election not only affects the people of my own country, but many others, maybe the rest of the world at large. The United States has a huge influence over so many countries that many are tense as the final battle approaches.
I am sure the people in the Middle East are also sitting on the edge of their seats, waiting to see what will happen once a new president has been elected. I certainly know most people of the Caribbean are waiting with bated breaths.
We wonder what will happen if Donald Trump wins and make enemies of some of the other world leaders. We wonder if Hilary is really the crook everyone makes her out to be. Is she really responsible for the deaths of people who stood up to her during this campaign?
Now I said my piece. I was dying to get it off my chest.