My whole family and tons of friends still live in Germany, so I sure keep an eye on the news from over there. Germany is still "Heimat". Home. It's where my roots are, where I lived 31 years of my life. I was born there, and who knows, I might move back at one point.
"To make democracy work, we must be a nation of participants, not simply observers. One who does not vote has no right to complain." ~ Louis L'Amour
With the German "Bundestagswahl 2017" creeping up, keeping an eye on the news is very important to me.
Heck, I think it should be for everyone, not only expats. And what many people, and even fellow expats don't know: You and I can still vote in Germany! I had to fill out some forms, and sent them to my last place of residency over there. They will send me the ballot paper, I vote in the comfort of my apartment here in Arkansas, and mail it back.
Voting is important. No matter where you live. Exercise your right to vote. With a government elected by its citizens that effects every aspect of our lives, from schools, health care to homeland security, voting is an important right in our society. By voting, you are making your voice heard and registering your opinion on how you think the government should operate. Plus the less "normal" people make use of their right to vote, the more seats in our parliament will go to idiotic extremists.
You can be an official member of a certain party, but there is no such thing as "registered democrat" or "registered republican". You can basically decide which party to vote for the second you receive your ballot paper. Here is how it works in Germany (via wikipedia):
Germans elect their members of parliament with two votes. One vote is for a direct candidate, who ought to receive a plurality vote in their election district. The second vote (considered as more important) is to elect a party list in each province as established by its respective party caucus. Half of the Bundestag is then filled with candidates that won their electoral districts by the first votes and the other half by candidates from the party lists according roughly to the proportion the parties receive from the second votes according to a complex mathematical formula. Common practice is that direct candidates are also placed on the electoral lists at higher rankings as a fall-back if they do not win their districts.
Public Domain, Link
I've got trolled bad on one German news page on Facebook for being an expat voting in the upcoming German elections. "Not living here but wanting to have a voice?!". Yes, dear troll. I am German. The fact that I live and work somewhere else doesn't change this. I might move back. I sure want my niece and nephews to grow up the country I loved growing up in. A country with a top notch FREE education system, health care and social security system anyone else on this planet can only wish for, clean and safe cities, wonderful landscapes and national parks, a multicultural society. Easy as that. And if more people would pay attention to and be interested in politics.... don't get me started. The only way to change is to vote. People are responsible.
If you are a German expat reading this, there's still time to get your Wahlzettel. Click on this link HERE, send the paperwork off (you might want to pay a little extra to make sure it gets there on time), and that's it.