As a Swede living in the country of Sweden, I am used to live in a very free open society, where democracy is very strong to say the least. In my opinion Sweden is more politically democratic and open than the country of USA, although Americans in USA would think differently – and most definitly Fox News Channel. Now, no country is perfect, and nor is Sweden, but on a whole, its more open here than there – thats my opinion anyway. (Here is the Swedish government website in English, click here)
For example to simply vote in an election in Sweden, you don't have to go and register to vote, you simply bring your ID, identity card and show it to a person sitting in the school or at post-office handling the votes coming in. You grab the vote ticket for the party you like to vote for, and you are done when you enclose the envelop and drop it in the voting box. This in itself make it much easier and with less barriers to get voters to actually go and vote – one of the keystones in any democracy – voting. The more hinder in the way, the more the law of human laziness gets in the way. And in Sweden they work to make it even easier to vote – via your cell phone. This will work in a high tech country like sweden, but not in all countries probably. For example many people today in sweden send in a “agree sms” to the tax authority when the taxes are to be filed and sent in. No paper and in todays swedish socciety it cant be much easier than that.
Today I read an article in a Swedish newspaper about the obstacles Republicans in USA are creating to actually hinder people to go and vote - "The GOP on voting".
The article in original Swedish text http://blogg.aftonbladet.se/omvarlden/2011/09/sa-ska-obama-stoppas
Read the article using Google translate into English Click here > http.aftonbladet.se/.
The American states of Florida, Georgia, Ohio, Tennessee and West Virginia apparently are going to make it WAY more difficult to pre-voting, which we in Sweden call "post office voting". And more other obstacles are to come in place mentioned in the article, And in America these obstacles are intended to make it more troublesome to go and vote point blank. And it is apparently hitting hard on the less fortunate areas of society where voting places are few and the lines to vote are longer, and often go on for hours and hours.
Now, why are the Republicans endorsing such a policy of creating voting obstacles?
It is most definitely because they figured out that the more troublesome it is to go and vote, the less people will go and vote. And the more likely where people will go and vote are in the areas where Republicans are in majority - in the more economically fortunate areas, where it might not be as troublesome to vote.
Its a dangerous game, but I am not surprised as those who search for power use any necessary means to win – and now its the christian conservative groups in USA that seems to count.
A Tea Party Republican movement wouldn't work and get so much power in Sweden today as it does in the USA. And this is not only because America is supposed to be more religious as a country - Sweden is like most countries religious in one way or the other. No its probably because people in general in Sweden don't allow the religious party to get enough power. In Sweden we have been enlightened enough to hold religion out of politics. And hope it stays that way. Just look at any country who lets religion get absolute political power and worse – to rule.
And those who like to take power in America/USA are the religious christian conservatives backed by the entire republican party – it seems as they are members of the republican party. Now, all republicans are probably not religous in the way of like M. Backman and Sarah Palin, but the religious conservatives and Tea Party movement, are strong and thus letting their views and means to rule as much as they can. They are even fine with throwing america into poverty for the sole reason of ruling and gaining power – “no taxes”.
When I as a Swede look at America – and let me just add that I have met great friendly people in America when traveling in the US, and seen great things, and I have enjoyed the hospitality – and I have american friends as well, still I don't look at it as the promised land of opportunity for all people.
And what may go against popular belief of americans watching the Fox News Channel, not all people long to move to america. If I ever thought of living in another country. it would´nt be America, I would more think of England and the UK as a whole, or Italy, France, Germany, Spain and most other old western European countries – who wouldnt like to live in London, Paris, Berlin or the lovely countryside of Italy. All though we are different culturewise in europe, the air we breathe politically and freedom wise in my view surpass USA on so many levels.
Now, America could really be that promised and great country no doubt, but they have to really make a shift in how they view politics and how they work to get more people involved in the democratic process - like voting. They really must get the religion out of their politics.
If I would cry, then I would cry for American voters who still haven't got a proper voting system. They still have this hazzle of voting. A country who claim to be the greatest, they still cant get their voting system straight.
What a bummer.