I don’t buy into political or election fever. Politicans and elections are necessary evils in any democracy even if some of them should not be allowed to be in charge of a cookie jar. I will leave the US election alone for a while as yesterday there was a general election in Ireland to elect a new government. Ireland has suffered a lot from the main political parties using the country as their own play thing over the last 80 years but in 2011 a message was sent by the voters to the political elite, nearly wiping out the once biggest party and sending them into opposition.
And now just 5 short years later it seems the electorate has sent the same message to the present government…..if you treat the people like dirt, they will bite back. For years political activists made sure their supporters got out to vote, but Ireland as a country and a society has changed. We don’t want their particular brand of politics, corrupt, localised and selfish. As a recent emigrant I am unable to exercise my right to vote but I haven’t voted for any of the main political parties in my voting life, and am highly unlikely to even if the law does ever change allow emigrants vote.
Polling stations stay open from 7am till 10pm so no one really has an excuse not to vote but I will be surprised if the turnout is over 50/60%. Voter apathy about the whole system is massive. Politicans earning thousands while people struggle to meet everyday bills doesn’t help. The Taoiseach (Prime Minister) telling people who are not part of his imaginary recovery that his government have turned the country around from the lows of the late 2000’s are struggling to believe the main parties. All this leads to voters going to vote for independent candidates or not vote at all. Do the main parties heed this message, not a chance as they are ensconced in their own little ivory tower of invincibility.
Counting of votes will go on all day today but early indications are that it could be a hung parliament with no real government, which could lead to yet another election in a few short months. Do the public have the stomach to listen to politicans on the doorsteps or TV again, unlikely but they may have to. Could a few independent candidates get together with one of the main parties and form a coalition, or could the 2 biggest rival parties, Fine Gael and Fianna Fail, join together to form the coalition fron hell. Either way if you are a student of politics, keep an eye on Ireland over the next few days, weeks and months. One thing though is looking likely, the annual meeting between the US President and the Irish Taoiseach in the White House for St Patrick’s Day will be cancelled as Ireland probably won’t have a Taoiseach by then.
Just a quick word on the US election that seems to go on forever. I arrived here last November a day already the election machine was motoring. With votes taking place now every couple of weeks it does seem a drawn out process and I am still figuring it out, who is standing for who, what are the parties, and all the primaries/caucuses. Next week is Super Tuesday, and I reckon the TV news stations will explode. Georgia goes to the polls next week yet unless you are really involved you wouldn’t notice as it’s not like Ireland with its posters everywhere.
I don’t know if that changes as the main election gets closer in November bit it is definitely an interesting process and something I am enjoying learning about. I am not sure I like the way though it is more about showing how bad your opponent is rather than concentrating on your own positives but it seems to be the way the candidates go. In a debate the other night CNN had closed captioning for the hard of hearing, and had to put up the tagine ‘unintelligible yelling’, well that sounds like most politicans to me…. Unintelligible!