I have felt uncomfortable with the idea of donating money to candidates in elections in which I have no voting rights, such as senators in other states. But individual elected officials outside my state do have a powerful effect on the entire country. Is it appropriate for me to donate to candidates in elections in which I cannot vote? —Christine, Seattle

You are absolutely entitled to help candidates from districts and states other than your own. As you recognize, the effects politicians have aren’t confined to their immediate constituencies. On the contrary, the prospects for our country depend on who holds elective offices at every level. For one thing, representatives from each of the states in the U.S. House and Senate vote on national legislation. For another, policies in one state affect what happens in others. We are one nation; if we’re to aim at liberty and justice for all, we need to do it together.
—Adapted from “The Ethicist” in The New York Times Magazine