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Sunday, February 24, 2008

Super Sunday/Vote if you got 'em

"I heart money"

One of the first questions people tend to ask me after finding out that I'm from the States is:

"Which is better, Germany or the U.S.?"

Oh how I wish they wouldn't. To me, it's like asking, "What's your favorite cut of beef?" That's tough to answer, because I just fucking love meat. As long as it tastes good, right? My grandmother from Trinidad used to live with us in Oklahoma City and one time she spent the better portion of a day cooking up a delicious stew. When it was done, she served it up and it was pretty bomb. Curiosity got the best of me and I asked what was in it. She was all like, "Cow tongue. And diverse vegetables." I mean, I kind of regretted asking after she told me, but I won't deny that it was pretty effin tasty, which is kind of my roundabout way of saying that I don't really have a preference.

It's not like I moved here as some kind of big political statement. I just wanted to. But sometimes I feel like I have to justify my decision on a faux-intellectual level... when really I just can't.

I'm probably the last person you want to turn to for a stimulating political discussion. Though not as apathetic as I was in my younger days, I'm simply not as knowledgeable as some, nor as creative as others to engage you in a meaningful way. I just know what I likes and what I don't.

(Click Below for More)

So, today is a big vote here in the F&HC of Hamburg. I'd guess you'd call it the state parliament/district council elections...or whatever. Anyway, voting takes place on Sunday, which I think is a good idea, since it gives you something to do on the most boringest day of the German-week. I'm not a German/EU citizen, so I can't vote, which means I'm doomed to be bored out of my skull today. Actually, I'm kidding about that last sentence -- but I'm not going to tell you about which part.

I have a very vague working understanding of the political system in Germany. Suffice it to say that the country has a multi-party system and representation in governing bodies is based on like percentages of votes. And honestly, if you want to know more, then there's this new invention called Wikipedia and you should check it out.

Germans are always on about how complicated the voting system is the United States. I mean, it's not particularly easy, I'll admit. About every time a new election rolls around I find myself learning about some sort of new shit that makes me go "Wait...what?!" And I've taken my fair share of college level courses in political science. That said, after looking at Schmidt's voting book -- I really think Germans can really say anything about complicated voting. Without getting into too many details, there's a part where they get 5 votes -- and they can either give all five of these votes to one person/party or they can distribute their five votes however they want among candidates and parties (so long as it still adds up to five).

All of this somewhat necessitates a roughly 40-page book on how to vote. Just so everybody is kind of familiar with the rules, so that you don't go and invalidate your vote by, for instance, drawing happy-faces or flowers on your ballot:

That's kind of an unrealistic example, since I think if any adult were to deface a ballot, they'd surely draw a draw a dick or two or some poop with stink lines. At the very least...a sad face. Maybe that's just me...

The best part about this whole thing is that there are like 14 parties to choose from. It's a tasty political buffet, where right along side the Christian Democrats and the Social Democrats(and The Left, The Greens and the Free Democrats...etc) you get parties like The Grey Panthers, The Ecological Democrats (?), The Alliance for Health, Peace and Social Justice, The Anarchist Pogo Party, The Pirate Party -- to name a few.

There's also "Die PARTEI" ("The Party") which in German is an acronym for a bunch of things that can be translated into to English as: The Party for Work, Rule of law, Animal protection, advancement of Elites, and basic democratic Initiatives. It's basically a party made up by the German satire magazine Titanic. Imagine if the people behind The Onion created a political party and actively campaigned for it.

"Bildung (education) starts with 'B'"

Talk about being spoilt for choice.

Anyway, if you're in Hamburg and can vote -- go do it. Really, I highly doubt there's anything better going on today. I don't even care who you vote for...

as long as it's not one of those crazy "they're taking our jobs!" right-wing parties (I won't even bother to link to any examples...) Seriously, dude -- we won't be hanging out anytime soon, if that's the case.

Yea! Civic's rad!

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