quinta-feira, 5 de novembro de 2020

Version 2.185

I pride myself on being an excellent citizen. I keep myself informed of the issues, I participate in the democratic process, I am concerned with voting on the right side of history and who I believe creates the best outcome for society, I lead a life such that I maximize my value to society, and I even do not mind paying my share of taxes--in two countries, I may add. 

Thus, it is rather disappointing that my fellow Portuguese find the need to insult me on a regular basis. Before the election, I was insulted by the right-wing Portuguese folks that support Donald Trump; after the election, I have to endure the insults of the left-wing friends who think that Americans are slackers at counting votes and that Biden should have had a bigger lead. None of my American friends insulted me, not even Trump supporters. 

Some argue that America is a lousy democracy because people have to wait in line to vote and many people face difficulties in being allowed to vote. Well, it just so happens that the first time I went to Washington, D.C., to renew my Portuguese passport and ask to be registered to vote in Portugal, I was denied because the person that did all the registrations was not working.

A few years later, I did become registered, but since I move too much, I did not update my address. Last year, I contacted the Portuguese consulate prior to the election and was told that I had to have changed my address at least 60 days before the election, which I had failed to do. Yes, it was my fault, but in the U.S. I can change it up to 30 days before. 

For the election of the Portuguese President, I am not allowed to vote by mail; instead, I need to go to Washington, D.C., and vote in person. I live over 12 hours aways from Washington, D.C. If that is not making it hard to vote, I don't know what is.

Even though I did not vote in the last Portuguese legislative elections, I was still interested in the results and was appalled at the news that the Portuguese authorities had no interest in counting emigrant votes--it took 12 days to count 147.154 votes and the President of the Republic, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, was very keen on not even waiting for the votes to be counted before inaugurating the new government. You know what that is? A clear disregard for the constitutional rights of citizens and he's the one who is supposed to ensure the Constitution is being observed. 

Just think that Portugal takes 12 days to count less than 150 thousand votes, but the United States has counted over 150 million in less than 24 hours for the president race alone. They have also counted votes for Congress, state Senate races, state House of Representative races, governors, mayors, judges, school boards, Sheriffs, District attorneys, etc. The U.S. takes less than 24 hours to count well over a billion votes and I have to put up with my Portuguese friends complain and insult me about how terrible and slow American democracy is. 

I almost wish I had voted for Donald Trump just because that would be worse for Europe. But, no, I did the right thing because I have a hyperactive conscience and I always do what is best for others. It is a big mystery how it came to be that I was born in Portugal. And having to put up with mediocre people like Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa and António Costa is the icing on my shitty cake. At least Trump offers some amusement value and some tax cuts.

Anyway, about the U.S. election, it appears at this time that Donald Trump is out and Joe Biden is in. Things have been rather quiet because the votes are being counted fairly quickly, Biden started to be ahead early on, and the election seems to be pretty balanced. I am actually surprised that Biden is ahead because he is not a good candidate. Even my dog couldn't be inspired by the man. Pence is out for four years, thank God. I wish the Senate had turned, just for the amusement value of Mitch McConnell being in the minority, but they are still counting. Perhaps the virus will get to him...

The turn out is record-breaking, maybe slightly above 159 million votes, although that is an estimate and votes are still being received by mail if they have been post-marked by Election Day--the rules are different by state and sometimes even within a state. 

Before you compare Portugal with the U.S., you should remember that the United States is a federation of states; there is no expectation that it has to have uniform voting rules across states. In the European Union there is also no uniformity, nor is there an expectation that there will be at any point in the future. You know what's uniform? Americans all vote in the same day; the E.U. does not even have that.

1 comentário:

  1. Oooh fico triste que portugueses te façam sentir assim.
    Se te servir de consolo, eu e muitas amigas portuguesas NÃO votámos no Marcelo NEM no Costa (ou nem no Passos). Há mais trigo no joio do que isso.
    Eu pela minha parte, posso dizer que nunca falhei uma eleição desde os meus 18 anos, e que nunca votaria num candidato tão pouco democrático como Marcelo que andou anos e anos a fazer campanha desleal na prime time da TV e no fim ainda teve o desplante de fazer a festa da eleição na FDL (onde eu estudei, mas não vem ao caso) como se fosse a casa dele.
    Maybe you need to know some new generation portuguese or Europeans? Braver generations, I would say 😊


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