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02/19/2004: "On International Voting, Politics, and Democratic Rights"

music: Silverchair – Tomorrow, Enya – Tempus Vernum, The String Quartet Tribute to Linkin Park - By Myself, Screaming Trees - Shadow Of The Season, Linkin Park - Points Of Authority (Live In Texas), Screaming Trees - All I know (#5 on top-107 of 1996 countdown on KNDD 107.7 the end, back when the station actually meant something), WMEA All State Choir 2001 - I Am the Resurrection and the True Life, Offspring - Self Esteem, U2 - Staring At The Sun, Screaming Trees - Dollar Bill, Brigham Young Univeristy Musical Groups - Battle Hymn of the Republic, Wynton Marsalis – Pachelbel’s Canon for 3 Trumpets & Strings, U2 - Hawkmoon 269, Seven Mary Three - Cumbersome
mood: Thoughtful

In another attempt to delay studying for calculus, I was visiting Passive Digressive, the blog of a friend of a friend (of a friend?)… Anyway, it’s often interesting, as was the case today. Today, Chris was promoting, a worldwide initiative designed to give “people all around the world a voice in the forthcoming U.S. Presidential Election.” While of course unofficial, the idea is interesting. I left the following comment at Passive Digressive, and will repeat it here for those, like me, who are be too lazy to click on over:

According to the website, right after I registered to vote:
People registered to vote:
Africa 137
Asia 181
Australia 109
Europe 4712
North America 493
South America 28
Europe seems to be much more politically active than any other region... but then, this initiative started in Europe, so I guess that is to be expected. For a worldwide sampling, Asia, Africa, and South America are terrible underrepresented, and as far as North America is concerned, the location of the only people that actually get a real vote, its odd that we are outnumbered by our friends in Europe 10 to 1.
Furthermore, it seems as if a given person can sign up however many times he or she wants as long as they have enough email addresses to go along with the sign-ups. And of course, people with shared email addresses or no email addresses are disenfranchised.
Nevertheless, regardless of the strange numbers, and the decidedly skewed results this will produce (as would most any attempt; the problem is much too large and complex), the results of Theworldvotes poll will be interesting to see...

So of course this gets me onto the topic of politics, which is not something I’ve discussed much on this here Blog, despite my very opinionated nature on the topic (just ask any of my friends who have ventured into the realm with me). And having an opinion on politics is as good as having an opinion on just about anything and everything else, because politics is really about everything. Sure, its about taxes and foreign policy and transportation (or the lack thereof) in a given metropolitan area; those things that are covered by the media as political topics that “the people” care about. But its also about what you can do in your backyard, what you can learn in your school, how much money you can make, why you get paid the same as the guy next to you when you do the job three times better, why criminals get better in jail, and why rape victims suffer for the rest of their lives in private hells. Politics includes whatever you’re thinking about now, touches on the music you might be listening to, influences the tv show you’re not watching because you’re reading this; it even played a major role in forming my ability to think and write about this, and your ability to access and view it. Anyone who claims to be uninterested in politics either doesn’t know what politics really is, or is genuinely uninterested in life. For most people, I suspect the former reason.
I think that’s a good taste of what is to come if I am to really get onto the topic, which will be more and more likely to happen as the major elections of 2004 grow closer. But back to the reason I started talking about politics in the first place, that “” website. From that site: “Who can vote? All citizens around the world who are committed to building a democratic international system of governance that is based on respect for universal human rights.”
Wow, what inspiring words! A democratic international system of governance! Respect for universal human rights!
What do those phrases mean?
Who determines if a particular right is universal or not? For example, there are some, perhaps many, who believe that universal healthcare is a right. I don’t agree (To remain more concise, I won’t go into specifics why here). There are others, perhaps the same people, who believe that people have a right to work. Again, I don’t agree. Who is right? Are these false “rights” to be included in the “universal human rights” that this “international system of governance” is based on? If so, am I not allowed to vote because I am not committed to building such a system? Is then the system still democratic, having excluded me?
Food for thought until next time… I have more, but I also have a calculus test.
Oh yeah, go sign up and vote, we need to represent the good ole USA.

Replies: 1 Comment

on Thursday, February 19th, Adam said


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