Thursday, September 17, 2020

Future Fridays: Democracy?

 We have a son, two grandchildren and a daughter-in-law in the fire areas of California.  Coury, our son, is an operatic voice major and the grandchildren are three years and one year: all breathing in the horrid air of ash and smoke while Cassie, our daughter-in-law is a family practice physician dealing with her own lungs and all her patients at risk.

As a result, we have been paying close attention to the fires in the west.  We watched Gov. Gavin Newsom say earlier in the week he was tired of climate deniers…then later, he was just exhausted as his state burned and then even later, how the proof of climate change was California.

Gov. Gavin Newsom - Shutterstock licensed photo

When we value democracy so highly at what point does the people’s actual will to address climate change actually takes priority (56%) right now, 13% in a few years, 13% later in the future, and only…ONLY 18% doesn’tthink it should be address. 

Almost 40 million people live in California…people living through the fires, droughts, floods, etc.  Two in three Californians say that they are feeling the effects of climate change now.  In a democracy, one would think that that would have an impact…but unlike Nicaragua, the United States is not a democracy.  It is a republic.

There are 62 senators representing about one-fourth of the population in the States and only six senators representing another fourth of the population while 32 senators represent the remaining half.  Where California only has two seats in the Senate…23 other states totaling together a population of almost 40 million people have 46 seats to California’s two. 

US Voting - Shutterstock licensed photo

In Nicaragua, those who lose the election still get representation in the National Assembly…for example if the U.S. had used a system in 2016 like Nicaragua's:  Hillary would have won the presidency and the democrats would have held a majority in the Assembly and the Republicans would have had a close minority, with Independents having a few representatives, Libertarians  would have had some, and the Green party would have had a few as well.  Here, if any party gets a decent percentage of votes they have representation in the Assembly…it is not winner-take-all like in the U.S.

Verifying precinct registration lists - Voting in Nicaragua

In North Carolina, where I have lived most of my life, the two parties came close in many senate races and presidential races…49% to 48% in many elections…and yet the one losing got no representation at all.

Also, in the States, you are eligible to vote if you are 18 years and older…in Nicaragua 16 years and older are eligible to vote.  At 16, Nicaraguans file for their cedulas which are their social security number, their national ID card, and their voting pass.  In Nicaragua, if you are 16 years old and are a citizen, you can vote.  If that applied to the U.S. in 2016 to anyone 18 years and older, then over 246.5 million U.S. citizens people could have voted.  But as it was, only a little over 157.6 million were registered to vote and 137.5 million said they actually voted.

If most of the population want climate change to be addressed NOW…most of the population needs to vote in leaders who will make climate change a priority.  The Scientific American actually has endorsed Joe Biden as president this year (first time in 175 years) because of COVID-19, science, and climate change.

Sometimes in the U.S. it feels like walking in thick sludge to get anything done for the good of the whole instead of padding the pockets of the wealthy…but I believe in my heart it can be done.  Plus climate change will not only hurt those who contribute to it or do nothing, but hurt the poor, the disenfranchised, and nations like Nicaragua who ARE trying to address it.  There are no borders on air.

This November we have a chance to do something different.  Let Picard would say on Star Trek the Next Generation…make it so.  We owe it to ourselves, our children, our grandchildren.


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