I stayed up far too late last morning, or should that read this morning, in the hopes of, well hope. Which I had heard was on the way.
But perhaps I should have gone to bed per usual as many more experienced friends had done — because after stumbling out of bed this morning in anticipation of clarity, I jacked into the TV and the web only to discover that there had appeared to be more clarity in the eagerness to ‘call’ results in the wee hours of the morning than there was now.
But it is a healthy, conservative approach (and I mean that in an apolitical way) — to actually wait until you count all the votes before deciding on winner.
And interestingly, even when the last vote has been counted and the electoral votes awarded and we all know who the next president of the US is, will he really be a ‘winner?’
Perhaps not. Because this is a country fundamentally divided, as the election results clearly show. Giving all the reigns of power to the one party that barely manages to pip the other at the posts with 5 or 15 electoral colleage votes is a sad ignoring of slightly less than half the population.
In a direct democracy, with proportional respresentation, this kind of result would instead lend itself to a healthy, vibrant shared governance; where there would be practical healing because no one would get anything achieved without the co-operation of a significant swathe of the other, and that process would more likely serve the best interests of the people.
But you can excuse this idealistic democratic outlook to the fact that I come from a country where democracy is a relatively new phenomenon; where the majority of us don’t have to cast our minds back very far to recall a time when only a minority of people where allowed to vote; where the right to vote is a deeply important and emotional act; and where a “disappointing low voter turnout” is 77% of registered voters.
But there is one clear trend my country shares with America: an apparently apathetic youth. In this US election, the same proportion of voters between 18 and 24 years of age participated this year than in 2000: 17 percent. In real terms, that means even fewer young people thought that participating in the democratic process was worth taking a break from other more important things like… ??? I’d love to know.
This is also the case in South Africa.
“Many commentators have pointed to the lack of interest in the election amongst South Africa