Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Dear Americans

Dear Americans,

in 1949 you brought Germany the first real democracy in our country. After the failed attempt during the Weimar Republic, which led to the election of Adolf Hitler and through him to the Third Reich and World War II, you brought us one of the most stable and efficient democracies in the world. We are very grateful for that (apart from a few right-wingers and a few hopeless people who live in the past).

With your 2016 election, you have, however proven that you are in dire need of a true democracy yourself.
You have been holding on to an old institution called the ‘Electoral College’ for too long, for one thing. An American friend I spoke to recently thinks it serves to make sure stupid people (or uninformed people, as it is put officially) don’t take too much influence on the election of your president. Well, that either means you’re wrong or it means even intelligent people voted for Donald Trump. I choose to believe the first one, because I can’t imagine any person who is intelligent would vote for a con-man who has no plans and will destroy everything his predecessor, one of the best presidents you’ve had, has built up in eight years in office. The bottleneck of the Electoral College means that a lot of votes go unnoticed every time. It doesn’t matter whether a party wins a voting district by a few votes or by several hundreds. If it wins, the other votes cast don’t matter for the rest of the electoral process. It also validates the technique known as Gerrymandering - a way to make sure as many voting districts as possible will go to the party the person doing the Gerrymandering favours. Get rid of the Electoral College and just count out all the votes. Overall, you might get different results.
You make the electoral process look like a huge party. You make it extremely focused on entertainment. And you make it extremely important that the candidates (and their parties) raise a lot of money. It’s no wonder the candidates in the end were both extremely wealthy. But how much do people with millions in the bank know about the struggle of the common citizen? Not much, usually. Yes, candidates should speak about their plans for the presidency. They should take a stand on political and social topics so the voters know where they stand and what to expect from them. They should not make a show out of it. The showman is close to the con-man (not all showmen are con-men, but all con-men are showmen) and will rarely keep his promises after the votes have been cast. Cap the amount of money candidates can invest. Like this, money isn’t that important for becoming a candidate.
Make sure the polling places are controlled. Not to avoid voter fraud as a such, but to make sure people are not bullied (for example by armed people standing outside and threatening those they think will vote for the other candidate) or are turned away, even though they have the right to vote. Having a system which gives every citizen the automatic right to vote might help. Make sure everyone has the chance to get a photo ID (meaning making sure everyone can afford one) and make the photo ID mandatory for voting. To get a photo ID, you need to be a citizen - which means a person with a photo ID is eligible to vote.

Many years ago, you brought a country you had just defeated in war the wonderful gift of democracy. Please do not allow things to go badly enough this country needs to be part of a UN mandate during the next elections to make sure America stays a democracy.