Homeless and Abroad: How American votes affect the world

I hitched about 50 rides in the two months of me bouncing across Europe. Four of those rides — yes, I counted — did not ask me about Trump.

Surprisingly, from my American perspective, an incredible amount of people in Europe pay attention to American politics in general. Not just because of Trump (though that was quite a big factor), but because America’s economy, media, society and political decisions affect the entire world. It’s an obvious fact to anyone who lives outside of the States, but it was a shock to me who hadn’t paid attention to anything like this before.

Surfers come here day and night, no matter the holiday, to surf a perpetual man-made wave in the small river that flows through Munich. Photo by Andrew Fraieli
Surfers come here day and night, no matter the holiday, to surf a perpetual man-made wave in the small river that flows through Munich. Photo by Andrew Fraieli

Whenever you are voting for president, voting to change something economically or voting on something about borders, you are affecting more than just our home: You are affecting the entire world.

One example: I went into a cafe in France expecting beautiful French music and was greeted by Katy Perry. American media leaks throughout the world.

A lift I got on my worst hitchhiking day – a day partially spent in the breakdown lane of the Autobahn in the freezing rain so long I couldn’t feel my fingers – was from a young Polish couple. The guy, 22, was a trucker and his girlfriend, 18, came with him for vacation. They had traveled all the way from England to the tip of Germany to get to Denmark and seen everything in between, but they had always wished to go to the United States.

The Danube River splits Budapest into its two parts, Buda and Pest. I was stopped at the border to Hungary to have my passport looked at more thoroughly rather than going right over like my truck-driver ride. Eventually I got through, but American passports are only ranked 4th most powerful in the world according to PassportIndex.org. Photo by Andrew Fraieli
The Danube River splits Budapest into its two parts, Buda and Pest. I was stopped at the border to Hungary to have my passport looked at more thoroughly rather than going right over like my truck-driver ride. Eventually I got through, but American passports are only ranked 4th most powerful in the world according to PassportIndex.org. Photo by Andrew Fraieli

But they couldn’t. They need a sponsored visa, only because they were born in a country that wasn’t allowed to visit the U.S. without knowing their bank account total, details of specific addresses and ties to your home country to insure that you won’t try to stay. No fault of their own. I’m planning to be their sponsor so they can visit. All this because of some policy on border control.

Now, with Trump wanting to build a giant wall against Mexico, it’s easy to see why many Europeans are a bit concerned with American politics at the moment.

Many people work for American companies as well. Such as a friend I made getting from Munich, Germany to Zurich, Switzerland, who, funny enough, works for a company based in Florida. If it were put to vote, it could easily be made much more difficult for people from other countries to work for companies in America, because of things such as visas. The United Kingdom voting to leave the European Union will leave many U.K. citizens unable to work their current jobs in the EU because they will technically no longer have a visa, as they had one from being in the EU.

Many Europeans work for American companies in the U.S. and many Europeans, along with the rest of the world, have to deal with political decisions made by the U.S. Hence the growing fear of dealing with the border-control and possible foreign relations problems created by a very loud racist and xenophobic presidential candidate.

So always vote thinking of the world as well to help make it a better place.

 

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