Books written by Ray Sullivan

Thursday, 25 October 2012

US Election Special

I don't generally discuss politics on the blog, in fact I rarely discuss it in real life.  It's not that I'm not political, it's that I feel politics is a personal thing.  And I really don't discuss international politics - I don't want a team of black ops guys coming over here to silence me.  I've met black ops before and generally they're nice guys - I'd hate to have to be mean to them.

But it hasn't escaped my notice that we're about to witness another US Presidential election.  In one way I don't care who wins - it's not my country after all.  But in another way I can't help feeling that I'm not immune to the result.  If a good, sensible President is elected then that should reflect in a stable, growing US, which should help the UK, among other countries, stay stable.  Elect a nutter, then Gawd help us all.

Now I'm not immersed in the characters involved.  Obviously I've watched the incumbent President for four years, the guy who has had to steer a course through the hardest economic waters since the depression, just like all other contemporary governments have had to (with mixed results).  I know hardly anything about his opponent - there's no shortage of supporting and opposing information available but sorting out which is balanced reporting and which is pure pro or anti propaganda is too time consuming given I don't have a vote in the matter.  But I'm sure the American readers will have a view, one way or the other.

It's my opinion that democracy works best when people take part.  We all know people who harbour extreme views, or who will always vote for a particular party no matter what it is saying or who it is fielding.  We get that here as well.  Where I live it is considered wisdom that any vote not for Labour is a wasted one, and a review of the local and national election results for the last fifty plus years would support that.  But I insist on not voting that way, not because I've anything against the Labour candidates per se, but because I want them to realise that we, the voters, have a choice.

The most important choice isn't about policies, or about left and right.  It really isn't about colour or religion, although those relatively meaningless points seem to be getting a disproportionate amount of airtime in the US.  The most important choice is whether you vote or not.  There are plenty of dyed in the wool believers of the right and the left, a significant number of party activists who want their views to predominate regardless of the majority.  And in the middle sit the majority; normal, none-activist people who have views based on what they see and what they believe, people who can make a rational choice for themselves.  They all think differently to each other to some degree.  The whole spectrum of beliefs exist in that set of people.

Yet statistically, while 100% of activists, who represent a minority of the views of the country, will vote in the election, a far smaller percentage of 'normal' people will vote.  Many will decide that it doesn't matter if they vote or not - because where they live one candidate or the other will win anyway.  And if they don't vote, that will definitely come true.  Voting won't, of course , by itself change the course of your State, let alone the final result but if enough people turn up for the polls then the result will be the right person, as decided by a true majority, not a significant but ultimately biased minority.  And this isn't me having a go at the activists - they are an essential part of any political movement.  But their day is up until polling day, their opportunity is to convince voters who to choose.  Polling day is your day, I urge everyone with a vote to use it.

And I urge you to umotivate everyone else you know who is eligible to vote to do so too.


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