Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Democracy in Action

It's easy to look at the craziness happening in the Republican primaries in the U.S. these days and to be critical of the candidates and everything they stand for. And, indeed, I will be critical of them in a moment. But first, let me be critical of the preposterous process.

Yesterday was the first primary in Iowa. Iowa will send 28 of the 2,286 delegates to the Republican convention in the summer. That is about 1.2% of the total. The insignificance of this, in terms of real democracy, is evident. In a democracy the way it was supposed to work, Iowa and its delegates would have a tiny impact on the outcome of the Republican nomination process and even less on the eventual presidential election. But, of course, it doesn't. It has a very large impact on the process. Mitt Romney, the lunatic Mormon "businessman" who seems likely to eventually be nominated to compete for the presidency with Obama, "won" Iowa by eight votes. That is not eight delegates (of the 28), but eight votes of the people who choose the delegates. Statistically an insignificant result. In reality, and statistically speaking, both Santorum, another lunatic in the race, and Romney both won Iowa. Yet, this morning the news is full of Romney's victory. It is all about "on the New Hampshire" and how this will spring-board Romney into the leading candidate, full of momentum. Indeed, we didn't need to wait until this morning to have the media frenzy surrounding the results. Media outlets were buzzing with predictions barely a couple of hours into the proceedings, certainly well before the polls had closed.

This system is utterly broken. I have written before about how I think a beneficial change to democracy would be to ban the reporting of any results until an election is over. This would be a benefit on a national scale but also in these smaller preliminary rounds. In the end it is the media, not the voters, who choose the nation's leaders. Is that in the best interest of voters?

Romney, with his overly coiffed hair, his mid-winter orange skin, and his ivory white teeth, was all smiles this morning. Surely God has ordained that he win Iowa and eventually the presidency. But wait, Santorum was on the radio this morning saying that God is with him in this election. I'm so confused. Does God support them both? Perhaps the Mormon God and the Christian God aren't the same deity after all?

I took at look at the news online this morning and saw a picture of Mitt Romney and his family. I looked at the group of them and I honestly thought to myself: "There is not one person in that photo that I would trust with anything I value in my life." How can voters not see that? Maybe they do. Maybe there's a good reason why no one bothers to vote in America.

If nothing else, the next eight months might be entertaining. I just saw on the news a few minutes ago that Michelle Bachmann has quit the race. Too bad. She was always good for a laugh.

Many people think it makes no difference whether a Democrat or a Republican is elected in the fall as they are both just puppet organizations run by very, very big money. In many ways I agree. But, as a non-American, I have to say I'd rather see a Democrat in the president's office for one simple reason. As much as the Republicans tend to beat the drum of isolationism and America being able to solve all her problems without involving the rest of the world, when elected they tend to do the exact opposite. Democrats, for the most part, seem to go about the business of governing America, whereas Republicans, for the most part, seem to go about the business of governing the world. Ronald Reagon, George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush, all had profound effects on the world at large. As a non-American, I'd rather that America just keep to itself and stop invading people all the time. I think that is much more likely with a Democrat in office.

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