White House Washington District of Columbia
Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

Please Keep This in Mind When You Vote…

T he majority of readers of The Gate are citizens of the United States — whose Election Day is tomorrow — but this article is relevant to anyone who lives in a country or autonomous territory in which he or she can vote for leaders and lawmakers…

…and as a reader of The Gate, you most likely travel occasionally or frequently; and at least some of that travel is probably considered international.

Please Keep This in Mind When You Vote…

Whenever I travel outside of the United States and someone who is based in the country I am visiting finds out that I am American, he or she will more often than not want to discuss American politics — especially pertaining to the president of the United States.

It is usually at that moment when I realize that I have suddenly become some ersatz ambassador of the United States — and you may have found yourself in a similar position when you travel.

I have had people in Europe sharply criticize the election of George W. Bush when he was president; and others praised Barack Obama while I was visiting Africa. Despite my preference — about which they do not know — of not discussing politics, they seem to be comfortable discussing the topic with me. I take that as a compliment — even during those times when the discussion may become uneasy.

If you are American, keep in mind when you vote tomorrow that you might find yourself unofficially representing the United States when traveling internationally. Ensure that you vote for the person with whom you feel comfortable enough to officially represent the United States as its president.


Politics is as personal as religion. No matter how adamant you are about what or whom you believe, know that you will unlikely change the mind of the other person.

As for me, I cannot in good conscience vote for either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. I believe that neither of them have the best interests of the United States in mind; and that they care more about themselves first and foremost than about anyone or anything else — strongly enough that even the “lesser of both evils” dictum cannot apply here for me. I personally believe that I would be a better president of the United States; but I guess that candidate train already left the station, so to speak.

When you get to the voting booth, ensure that you do not vote for someone about whom you would be embarrassed to admit — although for whom you voted is the business of no one else but yourself — as you might one day suddenly find yourself as an unofficial ambassador of the United States when traveling around the world.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

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