So What Is Great About American Democracy?

by Uzoma Nduka

I get swept off by American mega-hype about democracy. It kind of beat my sensibility and imagination. I can’t get it. I can’t get the propaganda and over-sizing the fact by the so-called den of democracy. I can’t get the over-stuffing of surrealism. The zenith some American men and media situated the government of the people, by the people and for the people appear unimaginably unapproachable thereby making their goals unachievable.

The mid-term election is being counted all over America as I write. This election is viewed as a decider. It is seen as a decider on whether the U.S. government is on the right or wrong track on several issues, top of which is Iraq. It is an election which the people will decide if their security at home is endangered or simply ballooned by special interest. It is an election which will prove the sensitivity of the greater American society. It is an election which will tell if Americans feel the pulse of the world outside them or that they are just being arrogantly myopic and obstinately secluded. This mid-term election will re-focus and rewind the steering of governance in this land.

As we are meant to assimilate, American democracy is the most perfect, excellent and best. It is devoid of fraud and mistakes. It is factually free and absolutely fair. We have been fed with the fiction that elections in America are technologically perfect. For long we have come to see it so.

But lately, the veil over our scaled faces seems to be dropping. And it is dropping real fast. We have experienced some fractures in this process in America.

Let’s not over-jam the point. The sweetness of this mid-term election (November 6th, 2006 ) explodes itself in the following:

  1. malfunctioning voting machines
  2. long lines at voting centers
  3. inadequate hands
  4. wrong directions
  5. unsuitability of election day
  6. uneducated voters
  7. slow computer
  8. disenfranchisement

In the 21st century and in America, elections are still clouded. Elections are still clothed with abnormalities and imperfections. Read Robert G. Kaiser’s “Midterm Election: Live Analysis” on the, George Merrit and Katy Human’s “Voting Problems Overwhelm City” on, Ann Imse, Lou Kilzer, Gargy Chagrabaty and Laura Frank’s “City Vows to Investigate Voting Mess” on all of November 7, 2006.

It is dumbfounding to hear that voting machines are not working properly as they should. One cannot comprehend this fact. How can brand new voting machines not work? What happened? Who should be held accountable? What company manufactured these voting machines? Was it a conscious act? Was there any hidden agenda? How can one buy this hard fact which seems so easy to sell?

Voting exercise doesn’t take the whole day. It is a simple thing to do. The voter already knows his inclination. The voter knows his/her candidate/s. All the voter need do is identify his/her candidate/s and cast his/her vote/s. But in America, in the year 2006 American voters stay in queue for over three to four hours waiting to cast their votes. Isn’t it appalling? Isn’t it a shame? Where is democracy? What are we talking about? This does not even happen in third world countries.

Despite the fact that voters stay upwards of four hours to vote on Election Day, it is even worsened by inadequacy of electoral staff. In most polling stations or election centers, electoral officials are not adequate and enough to serve the thousands of eager voters. There is not ready assistance to take people through the process of voting. We should recall many voters are not used to the computer driven voting system. As a matter of fact they stay on the computer for several minutes moping at the machine. They stand there trying to figure out how to go the route.

Electoral officials gave out wrong directions to voters. Most voters got the direction to some voting centers wrongly. And most voters are working moms and dads and they complained a lot about the date and time of the election. Some of these voters had to drop off their kids at school, go to the election center, stay in line for hours without voting, rush off to work, run back to pick up their kids from school and head back to voting center only to be told it has passed the voting hours. What is that called? Is it not disenfranchisement?

Who is fooling who?

How can election computers run slowly? What happened to Pentium 4 and X? How can servers be clogged and blocked? This system needs to be fixed. Something is wrong with it.

Election is America and America is election. If America truly believes in true, fair and credible democracy it should go back to the drawing tables. It should consult true patriots to reconstruct and redirect this noble nation. The spirit of the founding fathers will be worried with the wrongdoings of their successors who are trying to rewrite their history.

Voters have the right to elect their leaders. This was George Washington’s vision. Electorates have the right for their voices to be heard. This is an inalienable right. No arm of government can divorce this sacrament from the voters. And any system that permits disenfranchisement must be re-examined. Such a system is not democratic enough.

In retrospect, American democracy needs to go through thorough surgery. If these anomalies exist in the system then it has no right to oversee the election of other nations. It should stop sending electoral monitors to developing nations because they have nothing to learn from her. There is no moral backbone to this. If your system is not working, fix it before you correct another’s.

America should remove the speck in her eyes and accede to the fact that her system is not perfect.

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