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(brainpan) RE: RE: Of Dead Trees and Democracy

by brainpan (Monk)
on Nov 14, 2000 at 14:52 UTC ( #41548=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??


in reply to RE: Of Dead Trees and Democracy
in thread Of Dead Trees and Democracy

> Paper is good. It could be used just at the user interface level, and then converted into computer communications in the next step.

Yes, this is basically what happens now. The paper ballots are filled out, (either by scribbling in a box or punching a hole in the ballot) the votes are tabulated by a machine and then the final tally is forwarded to the appropriate people.

> it's not fair play to cry foul afterwards

Did I cry foul? I just said that it had brought up an issue related to counting ballots.

> I do not support Bush politically, but in a democracy it is of utmost importance to play by the rules

(1) In any political system it's important to play by the rules. The only real thing that changes from system to system is how much it hurts when you're caught trying to violate them.

(2) As brought up by me in this node and responded to by extremely over here, the United States is not a democracy, despite the popular notion to the contrary. According to your home node you're not an American, so I'm basically just bringing this up again because I think it's ridiculous how many Americans make it through civics class and don't even recall what basic system of government we have, much less how it's supposed to work.

(3) Reading this at face value makes this sentence a non sequitur. Reading between the lines enough that it makes sense yields an accusation of Bush trying to cheat somehow. If I'm misinterpreting you please let me know.

The president steps forward as the leader during war time.

His leadership is certainly more pronounced in wartime, but he has no more actual power during a war than at any other time. In any urgent situation (declaring war, etc.) the actions of the President are quite likely going to be passed through the Legislative branch for the required approval with very little opposition, but this approval is still required.

> Historically AFAIH (As Far As I Heard) the congress has had more power than now. Let it swing back again.

If everything went according to plan, the power of the Federal Government would be divided evenly between the three branches: Executive (the President), Legislative (the House of Representatives and the Senate), and Judicial (the Supreme Court). This three pronged system is intended to provide a system of checks and balances to keep any branch from overstepping it's boundaries. Sadly, this system is somewhat lopsided as of late.

And no, I don't own 27 pairs of sweatpants.
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RE: (brainpan) RE: RE: Of Dead Trees and Democracy
by jeorgen (Pilgrim) on Nov 14, 2000 at 16:01 UTC
    brainpan writes:
    Did I cry foul? I just said that it had brought up an issue related to counting ballots.
    I didn't comment specifically on your post. I have to go back and see what you wrote.

    and brainpan wrote:

    Reading between the lines enough that it makes sense yields an accusation of Bush trying to cheat somehow.
    Well, I try to express myself clearly, but unless you mistakenly typed "Bush" for "Gore", it was misunderstood. I am politically active here in Europe as (unpaid, part-time) webmaster of LYMEC where e.g. the British LibDems youth organisation is a member, to give you a frame of reference. What I *think* is that I would favour Gore before Bush politically, but that I think following procedures is more important than him (Gore) winning.

    brainpan writes:

    In any political system it's important to play by the rules. The only real thing that changes from system to system is how much it hurts when you're caught trying to violate them
    Maybe it should be important to play by the rules, but many systems are based on not playing by the rules. This is what Milosevic did, this is what Djukanovic in Montenegro seems to do somewhat according to some statements from local liberals (I'm incidentally from Sweden, which has way too high taxes and a mindset I don't always agree with, but is very stable and uncorrupted). This is what happens in Tanzania, with the occupation of land, although their supreme court is blocking it, and that just shows how tough those court guys are, still fighting to uphold the law (the rules) despite threats from the government. What a country needs is rule of law, especially regarding property and commerce.

    Look at Hong Kong for how far a place could come with just rule of law (and sadly no democracy, until the British made some kind of last-minute attempt to install it before the Chinese take-over). As soon as people realise that they will have to, or with impunity can, break the rules it's going downhill from there. Then you have lost one of the most important tools in the community toolchest, to communicate unambigously and explicitly what rules need to be followed. And these rules can then be criticized and changed in a public debate.

    I'm sure there are rule changes needed in the US election system, but that should be done between elections, not during them.

    If the Democrat people first design the Palm Beach voting paper, and then approve it before the election, they do not have much of a case. The individuals who have filed suit have more of a case, since they can claim that they are the victims of incompetent Democrats and/or snotty election workers. They are as citizens (or I suppose in the US case as registered voters) formally outside of the bipartisan structure. But, you can be registered as a voter with one of the parties? What's that?

    DISCLAIMER: I could have at least as many opinions and criticisms and suggestions on my own country or Europe. I'm no US-basher, on the contrary.

    POST SCRIPTUM: Is there a way we could separate political discussions from the rest of the perlmonks system?

    Update: I just realised that it is me who is pushing it out from technical considerations into a larger question of procedures and legislation, moving it away from programming. It's just my natural instinct :-)

    /jeorgen

      I wrote:
      I'm sure there are rule changes needed in the US election system, but that should be done between elections, not during them.
      Hmm. Maybe it is OK to do it during an election after all. It is just a matter of which branch should be used to resolve the issue. If you do it in between elections, it will be the legislative branch, drafting some laws regarding voting procedures. If you do it during an election it will be the judicial branch that resolves the issue. If they do it by setting a precedent, they are almost drafting laws too.

      I also said:

      they (Democrats) do not have much of a case
      Well, that's actually up to the courts to decide, come to think of it.

      Using the judicial branch is more conflict-oriented, but may not necessarily be a bad thing, although if all court conflicts are bipartisan there is the risk of precedents being based on a hidden assumption of a bipartisan political system, which could well change.

      In Sweden it would be resolved either by the large civil service independently, or by a chummy deal. Conflicts are not tolerated to any large extent in the culture, so anyone who rocks the boat is out. We don't even have a true supreme court, which I think is a great shame. Nowadays, after the EU membership there is however the EC court for us, which make the situation better.

      /jeorgen

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