Title says it all. But that’s really a simplification of my real view here. Americans everywhere, scream in terror, this is a real socialist speaking here! MUAHAHAHAAAAAA!!!!!!!
Sitting over here in northern Europe, looking at the whole US election, you notice just how ridiculous the US election system is. First of all, I just don’t get the idea why the elections are indirect. Why isn’t it the number of votes that decide the winner? This whole electrical college thing is a farce if you ask me. But whatever, it’s been like that for over 100 years, probably gonna be that way for at least another hundred.
Secondly, I don’t like the whole “winner takes all” style of elections, that goes for the USA, South Korea, the UK and others, and what I especially don’t like is that only two parties have a chance, in practice, to win the election or have part influence. I really appreciate the system we have here in Denmark (Which we share with Sweden, Norway, Finland and Iceland), in contrast to the US presidential/congressional system, is a parliamentary system, with a multi-party system. While we certainly have a separation (tripartion) of powers, the line between the executive and the legislative is thinner.
Our parliament (Called the Folketing, which is a bit of Old Norse meaning People’s Assembly) has 179 members, elected four year term. 135 are elected by proportional representation in 17 constituencies, 40 others are allotted in proportion to the total vote of the parties. The Faroe Islands and Greenland directly elect 2 members each.
In terms of elections and voting, what that means is when we have elections, we either vote for our local party representative in parliament (Which automatically also gives the vote do the party), or just vote for a party if say you don’t like the local guy. The party or coalition that can amass 90 seats wins the election and holds executive power. The chances of one party gaining 90 seats on it’s own, while possible, are very small (It last happened in 1983 and lasted for just two years, and then a new election was forced), what that does is that it makes a great avenue for smaller parties to get influence, as it’s usually just between 5, maybe 7 at the most, seats that determines the difference between winning or loosing. So if you’re a small party with maybe two or three seats, you can cut a coalition deal with bigger parties. And it also forces cooperation between parties, which is positive, dialog and conversation is only a good thing in a democracy.
This of course is very different to the system of many countries with a full presidential system, such as the United States of America, where you just have a two-party system, which is a very polarizing concept, and even seems to encourage bigotry in a bunch of cases.
During the last few weeks, what I have found the most amusing about the US 2008 election is how the McCain camp has called Obama a “socialist”, now, despite that term being a bit broad, I think it is pretty darn ridiculous, and clearly shows how ignorant many Americans seem to be, they don’t even realize what socialism is!
I guess what they build that claim on, is Obama saying he wants to roll back the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, and give a tax cut to middle-class and poor people. You know what, I can’t help but laugh here. Not to sound like flipping Joe Biden here, but folks, I wouldn’t even come close to calling this concept socialism, I call it something else: FAIRNESS !!!
Sure, it’s something that I, as a socialist, would argue is a good idea, but on it’s own it’s not socialism at all.
If you’re an American who doesn’t know what socialism is, let’s consult Wikipedia for a moment:
“Socialism refers to a broad set of economic theories of social organization advocating state or collective ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods, and the creation of an egalitarian society. Modern socialism originated in the late nineteenth-century working class political movement. Karl Marx posited that socialism would be achieved via class struggle and a proletarian revolution which represents the transitional stage between capitalism and communism.”
If Obama was a socialist, you wouldn’t hear him saying how he believes in capitalism, and believes that “the free market should be free for all” (That’s not a direct quote, but pretty close).
Generally, using the term “socialist” to describe Obama is so incorrect that it’s just dumb. Get a clue!
I havn’t heard Obama talk about nationalization (Which is something socialists of any stripe generally are open to) of stuff either, so there’s another reason why saying he’s a socialist is incorrect.
My attitude is very different, I think all infrastructure should be nationalized, and I believe in high taxes, nationalized healthcare system. Robust unemployment support etc. etc.
I think as a person living in a society, you have obligations to that society, but with those obligations come rights, such as a right to healthcare, education etc.
While Obama speaks about healthcare and education reform, his ideas are not powered by evil, big-government socialism (MUAHAHAAAAA!!!!!!) at all, as far as I understand it he won’t nationalize anything, but just make some efforts to lower costs for people to get private health insurance. Personally I think that’s all a farce and the state should provide equal-access, nationalized healthcare based on solidarity where the ones who are the most sick get treated first, not the ones with the most money. I don’t buy that private insurances or private hospitals can ever make such a guarantee.
I don’t particularly agree with Obama on all that many things (Although you can find the occasional thing where I think he hits a home-run), my opinion of him is that he sounds like a smart guy, and with some reasonable ideas and views, and a noble life-story. Dennis Kucinich is closer to my political stance, but a good deal off still (His speech at the DNC was cool! 😛 ).
But anyway, I am still fairly happy about the result of the election. So to President Barack Obama and his supporters, congratulations on your victory! May good things be at hand! 😉