Sunday, February 8, 2009

The Responsibility to Vote

With less than 24 hours before the voting booths open around the country, I think it is important to point out that the United States has some good lessons to teach other democracies. In the States, there are two large parties - the Democrats and the Republicans - with a smattering of small independent parties that rarely get notice. Neither of the big parties necessarily represent everything for which you stand, but there is normally a clear side or candidate that works for you.

By having two large parties, the chances of bickering are slim to none, as the majority rules in the House and in the Senate.

Israel, a so-called Parliamentary Democracy, has up to 40 parties large and small each election. The negotiating and bargaining are inevitable, and everyone loses, as the larger parites do not get enough votes to have a clear majority of 61 in the Knesset. Shas gets to exort money for its seminaries, other parties lobby for various Ministerial positions for which they are not qualified; and the country, instead of being able to start clean and fresh, gets stuck in the same old garbage.

The three to four big parties running in this election are: Likud (Central-Right), Kadima (Central-Left), Labour (running out of steam) and the dark horse Yisrael Beiteinu (the Fascist Lieberman party). Many potential Likud voters are planning on voting for Lieberman because they subscribe to his extreme right positions, and make the assumption that Netanyahu of the Likud will get enough seats to become Prime Minister.

Do the math! If all you people don't vote for Likud and instead vote for the Russian, Netanyahu will lose the ever shrinking advantage with which he started, and then we get stuck with Kadima, again. I encourage all those who lean to the right to cast their vote for Likud, so we can see real change in this country.

If I had my way, I would have four parties in the system: Central-Right, Central-Left, Far Right and Far Left. This would force natural allies to unite, and would significantly cut down on the destructive post-election bargaining.

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