Empowered Voters

After the election yesterday, I think I am beginning to understand why Icelanders do not want to join the European Union. You have to actually believe in representative government, and in the possibility of affecting the system from the inside, to be able to see the EU as a positive, cooperative, beneficial thing. Since Icelanders seem to see their government as something that lords over them whether they like it or not, they surely do not want another government further away getting to lord over them as well.

Choosing to think about it as "the government" instead of "my government" sets up a power dynamic that is inherently, and perpetually, abusive.

Today I am thankful that I grew up in California, where the voters absolutely feel empowered. They may not get their way all the time in everything, but they will be listened to.

Comments

Thordis said…
Funny, I totally see it the other way around :) I did not meet many Americans that really believed in their government, that it was focused and just... and overall I always felt like many did not feel like their vote counted. I have seldom experienced such disempowerment in any nation.

I have never felt like that here. When I was growing up election day was the most important day (Hátíðisdagur). My parents, grandparents would dress up when they went to vote. They still do and so do I. There was so much pride and respect. They really felt powerful on election day, and still do.

Getting in touch with your congressman/woman is so easy here. I have sent so many e-mail through the years, always getting a reply, And if you want to run you just run.

There is no way that anyone can use the election on Saturday to make the point that Icelanders traditionally feel disempowered when it comes to their government. I dont think that this particular election result had nothing to do with disempowerment... and if you want to run for whatever seat you just run. There was something else going on on Saturday, I think :)

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