July 29, 2021

SETH BARRETT TILLMAN: Letter to the Editor responding to Atossa Araxia Abrahamian, There Is No Good Reason You Should Have to Be a Citizen to Vote, The New York Times. Worth quoting in full:

Ms Abrahamian tells us that she “lived in New York since 2004, but haven’t once had a chance to cast a ballot here.” That is not quite true is it? Legal residents can apply for U.S. citizenship after residing in the U.S. for as little as 5 years—after which the federal government will process your application. It is now 2021. So Ms Abrahamian has had roughly 12 years to apply for U.S. citizenship and then, having secured it, to vote in U.S. elections. If she has chosen not to apply for citizenship, or not to apply in a timely manner, then it makes no sense for her to claim that she has not had “a chance” to vote. She has had that chance: a substantial one.

Legal residents are just that. They get to reside in the United States. No one will ask them or make them share the common fate of other Americans. No one in a position of authority in the U.S. government will ask a legal resident to stay in the U.S., and no one in a position of authority will ask a legal resident to leave. Ms Abrahamian is such legal resident, and as such, she can always leave and return to her former Swiss home. Once in Switzerland, the United States government will have no claim to tax her future income, and it cannot prosecute her for crimes she may commit abroad, and it cannot dragoon to her return to the United States to serve in its armed forces. It is altogether different for U.S. citizens, like me, living abroad. As a U.S. citizen, the U.S. government can tax my income earned abroad, prosecute me for crimes committed abroad, and draft me into its armed forces. And, that is why an American citizen, like me, although living abroad, gets to vote in U.S. elections, and that is why Ms Abrahamian does not, notwithstanding her being legally resident in the United States.

If you want the right to vote, you should have to commit to sharing our polity’s common fate. And if you choose not to take on American citizenship and to share that fate, then you ought not complain that you are excluded from the democratic process that will in large part determine that common fate.

I think you shouldn’t have to be a member of the editorial board, or even an employee, to choose NYT opeds, so I think Seth should get a whole column. In fact, I think that everyone who’s been reading the NYT for a while should be entitled to a column there.

InstaPundit is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.