US elections 2016 viewed as an outsider
As somebody living very far away from the USA – but still being exposed to its foreign policy through cold-war relics like NATO, innocently watched by NSA and threated by TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) – the current presidential primaries of the republican and democratic parties are a sight to behold and without comparison here in Germany. The efforts of independents (well with one exception) and libertarians are not worth mentioning really.
Following this spectacle for about eight months now, I learned some interesting facts and feel more sorry for the general US-population than before.
The most basic principles of a democratic election-process are just not given in the USA. For comparison… if you are a German citizen and 18 years of age or older, you are allowed to vote. You can do that via mail or visiting a polling station, which are usually setup in local schools in your city district. Voting always takes place on an Sunday in Germany. You have the whole day – morning until late afternoon – to go there and fill out your ballot. If you want to vote by mail, you have to explicitly request that a few weeks (not months) before. There is no need to register or decide which party-affiliation you want… ever. You just vote for the party/candidate, that best fits your opinion of a good shepherd. One person, one vote. There are no delegates or super-delegates.
Money in politics
Furthermore is the whole election-campaign and race only a few weeks long, and there is not nearly as much money involved in Germany compared to the USA. That is not to say there is no money needed, but certainly not several hundreds of millions of euros. Still lobbying and corruption happens here too for sure.
Tax-money, donations and cash from lobbists is certainly burned to a large extent in Germany’s political machinery and during election-campaigns, but not to such extremes as you might be used to in the “land of the free”.
Seeing the wig-wearing leather-face gaining more and more support (and media coverage), makes it appear to me that the 2006 movie Idiocracy becomes more real by the minute over the pond. That is terrifying to say at least! News-reports about the candidates with real substance carrying usable information for a sane decision-making process are absent. One can find information, but certainly not by following the FoxNews, CNNs, MSNBCs and the like.
Reading about election-fraud, paid speeches to exclusive audiences, corrupt delegates and other morally most questionalbe deeds, the political establishment of the USA does a great job appearing like a kindergarten for grown-ups to the rest of the world… one with some pretty big nasty guns and bombs at its disposal sadly.
Like the election in 2012, there is only one genuine candidate in the race this time around. Back then it was Dr. Ron Paul and now it is Mr. Bernie Sanders.
Staying on the not so bright side of things, we have stupid (and/or uninformed/lazy) people, who are allowed to vote too… surprise, surprise. These individuals are easy prey for parties on the extreme ends of the political spectrum. But they are a minority, despite them making the news-headlines often (such headlines bring viewer/customers thus ad-revenue).
The only cure against ignorance and stupidity is knowledge. To gain and maintain that, you have to learn… and keep learning. Don’t be voting cattle! Be smart! Inform yourself! Thus become dangerous! Talk with other people and not just your friends and family.
Rebel and disobey
You – the potential US-voter reading this – should demand more! You should protest more! You should hold your senators, governors and mayors accountable for every tax-dollar misspent… every law broken… every moral-code violated! You should put some meaning behind your country’s national anthem line “… land of the free… home of the brave”. Just resigning, taking all the punches and not fighting back, will change nothing ever. Remember, you are the majority… and police-officers, national-guard and military personal are people too… just like yourself. They are as frustrated as you are. Screw media- and high-society celebrities making the daily news. Admire people like Martin Luther King, Edward Snowden, Noam Chomsky, Elon Musk and the like. Let them be an inspiration for you. Oh by the way… to hell with religion… any religion! This is the real world!
You are not alone… not in your neighborhood, not in your country and not on this planet!
During 2012 I hoped for Ron Paul to make the cut. This time around Bernie Sanders is the best fit. This is not even a question of sympathy, but one of pure reason and common sense.