13 October 2004

Real democracy

As the United States presidential election approaches, the importance of the result for all the world becomes more and more apparent. Will the US continue attacking malicious dictators around the world? Will the threat of nuclear war in Asia be eradicated? Will the monopolistic power of Microsoft be thwarted? The outcome of these and many more global issues depend on the outcome of the November presidential election.

As you know, Americans in the 18th century struggled against what they called "taxation without representation". If a government in Britain wanted to tax American citizens, the Americans said, the government had to fairly represent the views of the American citizens. Of course it wasn't just tax they were worried about; Americans were upset about the policies of Whitehall affecting their lives.

Roll forward to today, and we see a world in which America has its finger on the button. If the US decides to go to war, it affects not only US citizens, but also people in many other places around the world. The problem is this: the US president sets world policy, but doesn't represent the world's population.

To fix this problem, we need a change to the presidential election system in the United States. Obviously, it would be ideal to organise an election spanning the entire world. Then we would have a real idea of what the people of the world want. No more American-centric policy in such an important international position!

Since a world-wide popular vote for the president has the problem of being difficult to organise, I'm proposing an alternative. Rather than directly electing a president, we can use the indirect method of electing representatives to vote in the presidential election. Luckily a set of such representatives already exist, although they are not determined by the vote: US citizens.

I demand the right to nominate and vote for US citizens. Once the people of the world can nominate their own representatives in America, then we will have a real democracy.