Friday, September 09, 2005

An expat losing touch with citizenship

It's happening might seem only natural, but it's wrong.

Expatica Germany editor David Gordon Smith completely misses the point of citizenship. Even shallower, are his eternal solution for what is at best a temporary problem (to HIM that is.) The solution, he says, is to avoid feelings of exclusion:

«However so-called 'third country' nationals also need to have the right to vote in national elections. Quite simply, anyone who has the right to permanent residence in a country should have the right to vote there. If not, immigrants may feel like second-class citizens. With the recent rise in Islamic extremism in Europe, the need to ensure immigrant communities feel part of wider society is more pressing than ever.»
Note that in Germany, all prisoners can’t vote. One should realize that they shouldn’t when you think that getting one’s vote BACK is an incentive to reintegrate into society. In the UK the standing government did its’ best to disenfranchise members of the armed services for nothing other than political reasons. I’ve heard multiple complaints and frankly find it appalling. Not that we haven’t seen it in the US.
One should ask how wrong THAT is. But to give a second vote to people who can and often DO vote in another nation of citizenship?

Are you kidding? At that point should nations disenfranchise their own citizens abroad?

What IS a nation anyway? In its’ most basic form it’s a culture (or defined group of them), a language (a defined group of them), and borders (in the case of the EU, a defined group of them.) If Smith is serious about issues related to citizenship, or its’ meaning, he shouldn’t advocate the erosion of the meaning of citizenship itself. He should first ask who among those entitled to vote has been unable to.

His proposal is not well thought out. In fact it is a sort of mild treason. Not against the expat’s nation of citizenship, but to the expat’s neighbors.

There is a reason for citizenship. It’s to ask an individual to commit decision of a certain level of importance to the society they choose to make their lives in. This is partly expressed by voting. Smith proposed that people should be able to leap over the component that involves a personal decision that requires the immigrant to think through where his or her future lies.
« Think non-citizen suffrage couldn't work in practice? It already does, in New Zealand. Since 1975, permanent residents who are not New Zealand citizens have had the right to vote, without the country descending into anarchy.»
New Zealand is an island group without a large influx, a problem keeping many of it’s citizens at home, and has arrived at this as a result of the politicization of immigration.

Those are the WORST reasons to take Smith up on his idea.

No comments: