There is a Better Electoral System

During the run up to the 2006 “mid-term” elections USA residents are being subjected to the usual empty campaign promises, negative campaigning, pandering, posturing, and other standard nonsense associated with elections in their “two-party system.”

Imagine an election system within which everyone is automatically registered to vote upon reaching their sixteenth birthday and wherein anyone sixteen years or older, attending meetings in their election district (ranging in population from 300 to 4,000), may nominate anyone or be nominated to stand for either local or national offices. A system in which candidates are not associated with a “party”, but must run as non-partisans, much like most municipal elections in the USA. Where 5th and 9th grade students are present at polling stations to learn of their important responsibility and voter turnout routinely exceeds 90 %.

Imagine a system in which campaign advertising is not permitted so media advisers, spokespersons, strategists, pollsters and the other assortments of campaign whores and pimps are not employed; and money does not determine the election outcome. A system within which candidate profiles publicized and provided to voters by election officials contain only the biography of the candidate, so voters aren’t barraged with the B.S. that characterizes elections in the USA.

Imagine a system in which those elected are not paid for their service to their community or country and where the average reelection rate is only 46.5 %.

Such a system in fact exists only 90 miles from the Florida coast. The above is, and has been since 1992, the election system of those evil communists in Cuba.

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19 Comments

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19 responses to “There is a Better Electoral System

  1. El Macho Grande

    …. Imagine a system where citizens are guaranteed all those rights, but are forbidden from leaving unless they get the permission of the national government! Bush’s band of clowns and zealots are heading that direction, but they haven’t got there yet.

  2. You Know Me

    Imagine a system where the importance of health care and education is placed above the profit motive.

    Please note the foregoing comment about the profit motive is attached specifically to health care and education.

  3. El Macho Grande

    None of that matters if you can’t leave. Because all of that health care and education–and the cheap tourist economy–is built on forced labor.

  4. Working Gringoshttp://www.yucatanliving.com

    Wait a minute. Isn’t that exactly what people in the U.S. want Mexico to do, keep its people from leaving? Don’t see how keeping poor people out is any different in terms of basc human freedoms than keeping poor people in.

    Glass houses and all that…

    Hola C, como te va?

  5. El Macho Grande

    I don’t want Mexicans to stay home. Some fools do, and their fear is being whipped by Rove right wing Republicans. But nobody I know thinks like that. (I personelly, as a gesture of solidarity with all immigrants, have been wearing an “Hecho in Mexico” baseball cap hat I got at a little Mexican tienda in King City CA last summer.)

    The anti-immigrant propaganda right mnow is much like the one that the Republicans tried to push in the 70s, under the ex-goernor of CA whose name escapes me, but who thought he could be President that way. As a result, they lost all of the Hispanic immigrant vot for a generation. It will happen again this time too.

    Anyway, that passing American stupidity is not the same thing at all as keeping your own inhabitants inside your borders, the way Cuba does.

  6. El Macho Grande

    That was Governor Pete Wilson (1991 to 1999), who ran against Immigrants and affirmative action in 1994. He developed his ideas, if you could call them that, as Mayor of San Diego and Senator in the 1980s.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pete_Wilson#United_States_Senator

  7. El Macho Grande

    And another thing: “Imagine a world in which campaign advertising is not allowed.” None of those tacky bumperstickers or “Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.” In other words there is only one party, with a monopoly on power. I don’t care how good the music is. Well, yes I do, because it’s pretty fucking good! But I don’t think Fidel and I can be friends.

  8. Working Gringoshttp://www.yucatanliving.com

    EMG: Some people, including many traditional indigenous societies, are comforted by paternalism. It binds their social fabric and offers a sense of security and belonging. Other people, particularly modern white-identified societies, prefer individualism and competition. When one type of society judges the other, there will be misunderstandings and conflicts. Unfortunately, neither society is ‘right’, as neither fullfills all possible human needs.

    It’s not unlike Christianity judging Islam.

  9. You Know Me

    Macho Grande, I didn’t realize that Fidel was making entreaties in pursuance of your friendship. I imagine he has been crushed by your rebuff.

    In fact, I bet you would find him to be a very interesting person to sit around and talk with. He’s obviously a very intelligent guy, having for forty five years outsmarted eight presidents (I’m not counting Carter who had enough sense not to be bothered); a bunch of secretaries of state; a slew of directors of the CIA, USIA, DIA; the OSA; thousands of USA federal agents; mafiosos working for USA intelligence agencies; and any number of foreign national leaders and their intelligence agencies.

    There are no party affiliations in Cuban elections. Nor is there “forced labor” in Cuba. Both the one party and forced labor canards are propaganda perpetrated by forces of the empire that is responsible for more misdeeds and atrocities in the world, and in the Americas in particular, than has been any other nation in the history of the world.

    If people in Cuba decide not to work they don’t get paid. Just as in the USA. Those unable to work are supported by their fellow residents, just as in the USA.

    I agree with you, Macho Grande, that Cubans should be permitted to travel freely. I also believe Cubans should be more free to utilize their intelligence and superior educations to pursue the private businesses of their choosing. These days Cubans are free to operate casa particulares, private restaurants, private farms and urban gardens, and a number of other private enterprises; but if Cubans were free to pursue the enterprises of their choosing the economic consequences, I think, would be astounding.

    The point of the Cuban economic system, in keeping with the theory of socialism it seems to me, is to distribute the nations economic resources as equitably as is possible.
    The nation is poor, in part due to the 45 year effort of the evil empire, and it’s allies and colonies, to starve it economically so the ruling oligarchy may return to power.

    In the USA, Mexico, and other nations of the world, poor people are unable to leave their countries, as they do not have the means (of course, there are very many in the USA who do not leave the country because they lack the curiosity to learn about other places of the world, another illustration of the willful ignorance of an outrageous portion of the population.) So in the free market system one’s ability to travel is regulated by one’s economic status (just as is one’s access to health care, edcucation, and etc.) In Cuba travel is regulated by the government (which, as most people often conveniently forget, is the people who inhabit a country,) in keeping, I think, with the socialist ideal of the equitable allocation of the nations economic resources.

    Cuba, unlike the rest of the nations of Latin America and the rest of the world, does not have an oligarchy composed of rich folks who own the majority of the land, economy and usually all of the government. Cubans have chosen a different way and just because Cuba utilizes a democratic system of determining the needs and desires of its citizens that differs from the USA does not mean it is not democratic.

    Despite the billions of dollars of efforts expended by the USA to return Cuba to its status as a colony, for the first time since the 1500s, a Cuba free from foreign colonialism has persisted for forty five years. The majority of Cubans support their system. They may carp about one thing or another about their government, just like do those in the USA; but they appreciate the fact that their nation is free from Spanish and USA economic dominance. At least that is my reading from my discussions with scores of Cubans during my four visits to the island, the first in 1970 and three others in recent years.

    My visits also revealed to me that in many ways Cubans are much freer that are USA residents.

  10. You Know Me

    WGs,

    Nice to hear from you, as always.

    I think you have made a good point in comparing the desires of USA citizens to keep Mexicans at home to the Cuban government keeping its citizens at home.

    I think a comparison of USA treatment of Haitian boat people to the treatment of Cuban boat people is even more illustrative. The poor, black, largely uneducated Haitians get sent back no matter what, while the more Hispanic, well educated Cubans are permitted to stay so long as they make it to land.

  11. El Macho Grande

    I’m sure Cubans are good people. I would even stipulate that Fidel is a nice guy on some level. But their system doesn’t work.

    Here’s my definition of forced labor:

    (a) You’re allowed to work only in government-owned businesses or a little casa particular, and

    (b) You can’t leave!

    If you think that’s an inviting choice, move there. They’re courting retirees.

  12. El Macho Grande

    Thanks for getting back to me, WG,

    You say “Traditional indigenous societies, are comforted by paternalism. It binds their social fabric and offers a sense of security and belonging. Other people, particularly modern white-identified societies, prefer individualism and competition. When one type of society judges the other, there will be misunderstandings and conflicts. Unfortunately, neither society is ‘right’, as neither fullfills all possible human needs.”

    So it’s a racial thing? I’m dubious. I logged many years in Apartheid America, in dear old Dixie. (Well, Northern Va is not the same as Alabama, but it’s given me my fill of closet segregationists.)

    Don’t get me wriong. I really like Cesar Chavez–He’s an entertaining rogue, and he always seems to get the Bush es excited (but he keeps paying his loams to the World Bank. The oil money won’t last long the way he’s spending it. In fact I heard he was forced to buy some Nigerian oil to make good on some of his promises to Cuba and poor families in Boston.

    I’m also rooting for Evo Whatsit to briong back coca in Bolivia.

    If I could I would turn back the hands of history to erase a lot of the stupid imperial behavior of the United States. (The stupid Iraq war is the latest in a long line, from Central Amreica to the Congo.) I would eve like to bring back the Mossadeq presidency in Iran (which we overthrew to install the Shah inthe 1950s). But you ccan’t undo things that are already done.

  13. You Know Me

    El Macho Grande,

    Thanks for the good discussion.

    The cliche of “move there” doesn’t become you.

    By the way a large percentage of the agricultural workers in Cuba now work for themselves in cooperatives that are not government enterprises and through which they are able to sell their surplus goods on the open market. The state collective farms were disestablished, the land distributed to private farmers and cooperatives, and farmers markets throughout Cuba were reopened some years ago. Additionally urban gardening has been established throughout the country that is providing a large percentage of the produce consumed in the city in which the food is grown.

    It seems clear to me that the Cuban government leadership, in the wake of the end of Soviet subsidies, realized that their economic system doesn’t work and have gradually been retooling it to permit private enterprises.

    And by the way, it is not a matter of turning back the clock on the misdeeds of the USA in Cuba and other Latin American nations. The misdeeds continue to this day.

    If the USA government was led and staffed by folks with a bit of brains there would have never been established the economic blockade of Cuba that continues to this day. (Though the blockade doesn’t apply to enterprises such as Arthur Daniels Midland, Tyson Foods and other large corporations that are generous with their legal bribery in the form of “campaign contributions.”)

    If the USA, in the early 1960s, had not cut off oil exports to Cuba and instructed Esso, Texaco, and Shell to not refine the oil obtained from the Soviets; if USA corporate owners of Cuban land and sugar mills would have accepted the Cuban offer to buy (with 20 year bonds at 4.5% interest, when at the time USA government bonds were paying 3.8 %) their property and mills at the price the companies had declared for tax payment purposes, and the USA hadn’t spent billion of dollars attempting to subvert a legitimate national liberation effort Cuba would likely be a far different place today.

    If one reads Castro’s speeches, in true Straussian fashion, he constantly invokes the “bloqueo” to appeal to the Cubans patriotism, in the same manner that the USA government invokes boogie men.

  14. El Macho Grande

    The whole point is that governments everywhere are not “staffed by people with a bit of brains.” They’re staffed by people with a taste for power. The same kind of average people that in America are fighrting agsinst immigrants or evolution or gay marriage are in Cuba running the whole system. Why should they be any brighter than the average Hoosier or Washingtonian?

    The Cuban government has been “gradually retooling” its economy since when–1989? And what have they achieved? You are now allowed to sell your sugar or other crops “on the free market.” What sort of “free market” is that? Sugar isn’t worth very much on the free market. So the government I assume buys it from farmers at some price they set.

    As for what the US government should have done in the 1960s or whatever, I agree with you about most of it (although I would check the claims oif both governments about the terrms that were offered). If we had had mroe sane policies since then, Cuba would probably be the 51st state. But obviously we can’t go back in history.

    The Eisenhower and Kennedy and Johnson administrations were scared out of their minds about Soviet influence, because they thought that Marxism was headed for success. Which it turned out not to be, because the Societs were lying about their production figures. We all know that story. If our government had had a little more confidence itself, rather than setting up fascist dictators everywhere, things would have been better. (Think about the tragedy of the Salvadoran people, of whom there are tens of thousands of refugees in the DC area who had to endure the horribe Reagan policies of the 1980s. All of them have been through hell, and a lot of them died. If you want conspirracy theories, trace the role of John Negroponte, who was Ambassador to Honduras then and is now the head of the whole US intelligance department.)

    I don’t know what “Straussian fashion” is. Leo Strauss apparently still a has few fans out there on the Internet. The poor guy had the bad luck to have Paul Wolfowitz and the other neocons fall in love with him, and some of the American Enterprise Institute. I knew a couple of proudly Straussian teachers in college, but they were narrow-minded fools, and most people laughed at them.

    But everyone knows that Castro has used the US embargo as a convenient foil.

  15. El Macho Grande

    Sorry, I didn’t really do justice to your news about the market reforms. They’ve obviously gone beyond sugar cane. Perdone me However you spell that thing.

  16. Working Gringoshttp://www.yucatanliving.com

    YKM: While we’re on the subject of governments controlling the movement of their people, let’s not forget how U.S. citizens are the only people in the world who are fined and imprisoned if they travel to Cuba.

    EMG: No, it’s not about race. It’s about cultural traditions and belief systems.

  17. El Macho Grande

    You’re totally righta about the Cuban embargo, WG. It’s all to secure the votes of the citizens and congressional representatives of South Florida. That’s the US Cognress in action. Buu the first generation Cuban immigrants in Miami are dying off. The younger people want to go back and visit.

    As for the “cultural traditions and belief systems,” I don’t really understand what the rule is here. Where do you draw the line? So it would be legitimate to cricitize the British for invadiing Iraq or the French government for neo colonial stuff in Africa (or for its vicious guest worker compounds)?

    But I should not critize the governments of “traditional” people, like Native people in Mexico or Guatemala or Venezuaela, or the government of Cuba (most of whose ancesters were slaves). Is slavery traditional? How do they fit under the same umbrella? What about Brazil?

  18. You Know Me

    El Macho,

    That would be perdone or perdoname. No te preocupes. The domination of sugar in the Cuban economy has waned radically since the Soviets ended the subsidies.

    Since the “special period”, following the end of the subsidies, when the Cuban economy went down the tubes and the leadership began instituting economic changes, including limited free market reforms and tourism promotion, the Cuban economy has improved greatly.

  19. El Macho Grande

    Excellent!

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