International Male: Every four years, the United States participates in an increasingly controversial procedure of choosing its politicians. Republicans and Democrats both engage in mudslinging– each side taking cheap shots at the other.
Is this the nature of all politics and elections now?
Jeff Thomas: Well, that aspect of election projects is nothing new. In the US, maybe the nastiest election was the 1800 election, in between President John Adams and competitor Thomas Jefferson, who ultimately won. The Democratic Republicans under Jefferson assaulted the Federalists under Adams for producing a central government that took over states’ rights, for imposing excessive taxes, and for passing the Alien and Sedition Acts, quelching the expression of anti-government viewpoint.
So, the problems themselves are extremely similar to those in play today, however at that time, the mudslinging was a reasonable bit worse than today. And, like today, the media were just as involved as the political celebrations.
But it is very important to bear in mind that the United States is not the only country out there. It’s only one of about 200 nations, and elections in those nations not only vary commonly however are forever developing. Some countries, like the United States, are headed downward politically, whilst others are on an upward pattern.
International Man: Are there better examples?
Jeff Thomas: Examples of nations where the system isn’t becoming more tribal?
Yes, there are several. I keep in mind watching the 2009 governmental arguments in Uruguay, where I live part of each year. Luis Lacalle of the National Party would answer a concern regarding how he would deal with a specific issue and, when his challenger, José Mujicaof the Broad Front Celebration, would react, he would do so respectfully, stating that he agreed with Lacalle and that his own method would differ just in minor information. A really gentlemanly election by comparison.
But then, this might be misinterpreted by individuals in the US. It does not indicate that the candidates are necessarily more civilised than their American equivalents. What it suggests is that the Uruguayan people expect gentlemanly behaviour.
In every nation, political leaders look for to mirror the national mood. Since they’re trying to catch the vote, they don’t behave naturally but as a reflection of the nationwide mood. In Cuba, in 1959, individuals were thoroughly fed up with the Batista routine, so Fidel Castro shaking his fist and pontificating for hours in the Plaza de la Revolución was an invited sight. On the other hand, the US in 1952 was fed up with warfare, and the quiet confidence of Dwight Eisenhower was what people wanted to see, so that’s what was provided. Political hopefuls attempt to project the mood that the general public is looking for.
What we’re seeing in the US today is a nation that’s entered the very first stage of what will be an extended crisis– one that will lead to the upheaval of the economy, political structure, social behaviour, and even the morals of America. From here on in, we can expect ever-expanding degradation in each of those four areas, and political leaders will reflect that. These are actors, after all.
International Guy: The polarization in between the Left and Right has actually continued to get worse– and this divide has actually participated in nearly every element of life.
Is this as an outcome of the large size of the US and the differences in between the States?
Jeff Thomas: The size of the United States is definitely a factor, however the existence of the divide is media-created. In good times, states and political celebrations will try to get along, however in a crisis, they will not. When you see them at each other’s throats, you understand that the crisis is underway. And the media can be counted on to capitalise on it and include gasoline to the fire. It will not end well.
International Guy: How does localism in smaller sized nations impact the political process?
Jeff Thomas: It’s much harder to pull off this sort of divide in a little nation. And the smaller sized, the much better. The more the politicians belong of the community, the more difficult it is for them to fool the public, even if the public is both unimaginative and ill-informed. If you know the prospect personally, you’re far less likely to be taken in. And, since he most likely frequents the same bar as you do, he’s not most likely to try to become a parasitical overlord whilst in office. He’s going to remain more grounded, because he has no option.
International Guy: You discussed the situation in Uruguay, however you also live much of the year in the Cayman Islands, where the population is small– about 60,000. How do elections compare to the US?
Jeff Thomas: It’s very different. Coincidentally, we’ve simply completed our elections, which take place every 4 years. We have just a three-month election season, which is sometimes enthusiastic, but not violent. At the ballot station, all the staff is both practical and friendly. By law, there are 2 policemen at every station, but they too get along. The procedure is effective– about five minutes– and citizens socialise peacefully outside afterward, despite whether they’ve picked opposing prospects.
This time around, like the United States, we had a change in federal government, but unlike the United States, the electorate was positive in the legitimacy of the process and accepted the outcome, even if their candidates were unsuccessful.
However again, our general election state of mind is resilient since the nation is stable– more like the US in 1952 than Cuba in 1959.
International Man: Do the media impact the election?
Jeff Thomas: Not a lot. They mostly report events rather than try to indoctrinate individuals. The people of Cayman are not extremely tolerant of an aggressive media anymore than they’re tolerant of aggressive politicians. For details, we rely more on what’s called the “marl road”– person-to-person communication– for voter-consciousness. Also, we know our political hopefuls on a first-name basis. We understand their households and individual history, so we can neglect the project rhetoric and focus on who they truly are. We usually wind up with a mix of very good, capable individuals and some enthusiastic types, plus a few essentially useless people who are essentially nonessential whilst in workplace.
International Man: Big donors, special interest groups, and lobbyists have a lot of say in the election of American politicians. How does that effect the overall political structure?
Jeff Thomas: In a small jurisdiction, you still get “huge donors.” However the dollar numbers are smaller sized, and the public tends for more information easily that the contributions have happened, so it’s hard to get carried away with purchasing political leaders. The electorate finds out quickly enough.
International Guy: Is there another method?
Jeff Thomas: Well, you can pass laws that forbid various methods of contributions to campaigns, however those who seek to purchase impact will simply discover a work-around. Even in a small system, there will be those who buy politicians, however as it tends to get learnt, they can be voted out again.
International Guy: Do you experience the victimization of one celebration by another?
Jeff Thomas: No, traditionally, our candidates were mostly independents, with periodic groups that would last for two or three terms then dissolve. For the last twenty years, we’ve had actual celebrations, however the electorate discovered that the parliamentarians that they elected would then conceal behind the responsibility to vote along party lines. Individuals might no longer go to a candidate and expect him to “represent” his constituency.
In this current election, the last of the parties was defeated, and we’ve gone back to the independent idea, in which a parliamentarian needs to respond to his constituency, or out he goes.
In a large country, a government made up of independents may not work, but in a little country, in which you can have direct input to your candidates, it makes for actual democracy instead of the pretense of democracy.
Governments ought to be controlled by the people, not the other way round. The higher your power to ride herd on your government, the higher your capability to retain your liberty.
Editor’s Note: The 2020s will likely to be a significantly unstable decade. More governments are putting their money printing on overdrive. Negative interests are becoming the rule rather of the exception to it.
Something is for sure, there will be a good deal of change happening in the years ahead.