By ARABA OKYIRE
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Being thousands of miles away from home has not stopped U.S. citizens abroad from actively participating in the democratic process of their home country and making their voices heard.
Twenty six delegates from Democrats Abroad delegation are at the 2012 Democratic National Convention from Japan, United Kingdom, Italy, Peru, Taiwan, Germany and other countries. According to International DNC member-elect, John Eastwood, the Obama Administration has made it easy for over 500,000 U.S. citizens scattered around the globe to not just mail in their votes but to contribute at the grassroots level.
Eastwood attributed the high participation level to the president’s better understanding of how it feels to live in another country because of his background. He said President Obama shares a common bond with U.S. citizens abroad most of whom have non-American spouses with children of mixed parental background like himself.
“The president embodies a mixture of many things. He commands tremendous international reception and has enacted policies that embrace diversity and minorities including the GLBT,” Eastwood said.
Eastwood, a lawyer by profession who lives in Taiwan, touched on the Affordable Healthcare Act and said Taiwan has a similar health care system that is very efficient.
“I live it, I know how well their health care system works and no one refers to them as socialists for having such good system. Why not the U.S.?” Eastwood said.
Adrian George lives in Stockholm, Sweden with her spouse. She is a delegate for the first time and says there was something inexplicable about President Obama that caused her to get more involved than the previous politicians.
“I now have a renewed excitement for patriotism, energy and the willingness to keep going. I don’t want to be a politician but I want to help people to vote,” George said.
For his part, Louis Hureston who is married to a South African said he is fired up for the DNC because of their openness to diversity.
“Democrats Abroad gives us the channel to be a part of the political system back home and participate in the democratic process which is why I became a delegate,” Hureston said.