Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Reflections on the American Election from a Canadian's point of view

I find it interesting that the Americans note stats on the white votes, the hispanics, the blacks, the young, the old, first time voters .... Is this necessary? Aren't all people equal? Hmmm ... if Canada did this, there would be so many people groups, it would be confusing. The whole idea of identifying what kind of people are voting for who bothers me. I prefer the anonymity of not knowing. At the same time, as someone who enjoys reflecting on the meaning of stats, it is interesting to see the differences. With this kind of information, candidates could certainly make extra efforts to draw in certain people groups. Maybe that would lead to some people-pleasing and, even conflicting (within a party), campaigning.

It also is different, for me, that people are so open about being Republican or Democrat. Sure, Canadians talk about what party they support. But, we don't identify ourselves as "I'm a Conservative", "I'm a Liberal", or "I'm an NDP". We don't associate our personal identity, for the most part, with the party we vote for, and even support (in some cases). From what I understand, people in the States register as either a Democrat or Republican. I guess, here, in Canada, there is some tradition to the way people vote, but it feels more free to vote as you please. To vote on the issues. To vote for the platform you agree with most. However, I guess, when there is no platform you agree with, voting is difficult. Then, who do you vote for ... the person for your riding? Your favourite party? The party you have the least against?

In watching the results on tv, though, it is evident the Americans are much more passionate about who wins. There are crowds of people out on the streets, waiting to celebrate a win. I can't imagine that even happening here in Canada. Maybe that's something we could learn from our neighbours to the south. A little more patriotism. A little more action. Not war action. Just acting on what we say we believe ... showing we stand behind our comments and opinions. It seems to me, Canadians love to discuss, etc. but they are quite apathetic on most issues. Or so it appears when it comes to action.

Oh, yeah, and the technological system of voting almost seems to create more work than good. Before the votes are even counted, it goes through several processes and machines. Not to mention errors on ballots. I'm sure we'll hear some controversey about some technology error in the coming days. Why not go the simple, paper way. Seeing as there is paper involved anyway. I would almost bet it takes less time to process the paper ballots manually than through the computer and machine system. The computer way isn't even saving paper. From what I saw on one tv station, each ballot is enclosed in 2 envelopes. This comment, however, could be slightly wrong, particularly if I misunderstood.

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