Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Voting

It is a little amusing that I will be voting tomorrow knowing less about the parties I have to choose between then I did about the US presidential candidates.

South Africa's system is a little different from the US. You don't vote for who you want to be president. You vote for a party. The party gets to choose, and effectively remove the president. There is a list from which the members of parliament are chosen. The party chooses the order of the people on the list. The number from each party depends on how many votes there are. On top of that, until recently, despite the fact that you didn't vote for individuals, there was an opportunity for individuals to move to another party and keep their seat in parliament.

All of what I have written above is only as I understand it... and I am no expert, so I may be wrong. Other than that we don't get to choose who our president is.

In one way, I think that is very very disappointing. In another way, I am hopeful that the skeptics who say that who the government is doesn't really matter anyway are correct. Politicians don't make a country work, the people do.

Will Wilkinson links to this post by Peter Thiel (the founder of Paypal) who has given up on politics in America. While knowing much more about the candidates in America than I do for tomorrow's South African election, I didn't wish that we had the same system.

I don't have a lot of faith in government... of any country. People need to take action themselves. My concern is more about what damage governments can do.

That said... I will be out in full force tomorrow. Springbok jersey and all.
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