I will be very interested to see what the percentage of people voting is in this election. This will be our fourth US election as a married couple. To my recollection none of the other elections have come with so much discussion over the actual process of voting. The hoops that Americans who live in Myanmar are jumping through to actually vote are both insane and varied.
The variance often depends on which state you are voting in. I overheard a conversation in the office the other day about someone needing a US postage stamp to go along with their ballot that was being mailed, possibly via the US embassy. In what world would someone who is voting from Myanmar need a US postage stamp! Lindsey herself managed to register online to vote and actually voted online. Why isn’t this possible everywhere and not just for people who live outside the country? Anyway, it may well be that the same panic that is driving the anti-Trump people to vote him out is driving the pro-Trumpers to keep him in such that any increase in the total percentage of voting may be equally reflected on both sides thus cancelling each other out.
Democracy, in general, seems to be going through somewhat of a rough patch at the moment. To my mind this comes firstly from the rather surprising set of election results we’ve had of late like Trump and Brexit but also to the various responses to Covid-19. Both living in and being surrounded by defacto dictatorships as we do here, one does seem to see an overall better response to managing the situation than in the major democracies including both of our home countries. Populations who have at least a mild fear of their rulers tend to follow the rules more than those that don’t.
Modern western democracies might be at a crossroads where the very people that their systems are designed to keep at a disadvantage are now effecting change through democracy’s own apparatus. Why this should only be happening now is certainly a question although this might be something to do with education and/or the access to information (true or otherwise) on the internet. The next question is what happens next? Could democracy be effectively voted out by it’s own machinery. Trump already talked of delaying the election. If he gets in, who is to say he won’t float an extended election period or reinstate the ability for Presidents to run more than twice, constantly cheered on by his supporters. Personally, I was shocked when George W got voted in a second time but that looks tame in comparison with Trump getting voted in. We can get used to anything.
Which brings me back to Covid19. For anyone, who is not following the numbers I can tell you that the world is having it’s biggest days in terms of new cases pretty much everyday at the moment. The height of the daily new cases numbers the first time round are being doubled and tripled in most European countries right now. America is only just getting back up to its previous highs but I’m sure those are about to be smashed just like they are everywhere else.
At some point during the first wave I jokingly suggested to Lindsey and some friends here that the only real solution would be to move all the vulnerable people to islands like New Zealand, Malta and Hawaii and then let everyone else simply get the virus. Once the world had reached herd immunity properly, all the high risk people could return. Now I have heard just such an argument being touted by some well respected professors, albeit without the ‘shipping off to islands’ part but basically calling for the protecting of the vulnerable, allowing everyone else to get on with their lives. Unless something radical like this or some other strategy is pursued we are looking at a very dark winter indeed with our only hope being some kind of vaccine that can fast track the herd immunity we need.
Our ability to get used to anything is something that must get baked into us through evolution. It’s not just the survival of the fittest but the survival of those who can put up with the worst conditions and it’s not just humans. It’s the same dynamic that makes creatures like rats and pigeons and cockroaches so successful. We are already blind to the big numbers and I do believe that we’ll get through this but at great cost to a segment of our world population that is the weakest. How will future generations judge our responses I wonder. History is written by the victors but in this case it will be written by everyone who survived – a world of apologists.
Lindsey insisted I write a blog post today and this rather dry post is her punishment for making me do it. My image at the top is the Asian Common Toad of which this rather charming example is a regular visitor to our garden. To compare it to Trump or Biden for that matter would be an insult to toads everywhere.