A Walk To The Polling Booth
The other day, I was happily taking a virtual walk through my lightroom catalogue when a sudden buzzing of my phone alerted my attention to something important. These alerts are fantastic. So fantastic I have my own vocabulary of four letter words that I used to describe them. I know I can turn these alerts off, and before you ask, yes, I do know how. it’s just, I always forget!
On this occasion my phone had drawn my attention away from the mist covered Otago Peninsula that I was currently enthralled in to tell me that I had a podcast from the Guardian that was now two/three days old. With my phone desperate for me to listen to the content, I took a look. The title read:
‘US election 2020: will Donald Trump accept the result?
I couldn’t help myself. Before I knew what was happening I was in. You see, I have recently become a lot more acquainted with CNN than I ever wanted to be. Like the rest of the world, I’ve become fascinated with the US numbers game.
Having followed the lead up to the US election with a passing interest, and with election day looming I’d made a concerted effort to try and understand the whole thing. But, try as I might, I just couldn’t get my head around it. Electoral College Votes, The Popular Vote, The Senate, The House of Representatives, majority margins, swing states, battle grounds …. I simply got lost. Until, I came across the magic number of 270. Finally something that made sense.
Putting all this confusion to one side, I eagerly sat down on Wednesday evening to watch. This is when I made three important discoveries. Firstly, US election coverage is really boring! Secondly, I much prefer the New Zealand voting system. This preference isn’t due to a particular style of governance or system of voting. But, the fact it only took one day! Here in New Zealand, we get excited by our big day out to the polling booth (or letter box if you posted them in), and in the evening watch a series of numbers that never seem to change while experts decode the whole thing for us. The following day, everyone wakes-up, talks about Winston Peters and gets on with their life. In America, four days later and they were still counting votes and providing live updates! Now, I’m not one to pick holes in something I don’t understand, but doesn’t that seem a trifle long to anyone else?
It was on one of these days, sometime between Wednesday and Friday that we got the glorious statement from President Trump that even though he lost, he won! As long as the counting was stopped at a specific point that is. This logic got me thinking. What if we were to stop sporting contests at a similar, yet convenient point in time. If we’d stopped keeping the score after the 66 minute in Saturday’s Bledisloe Cup match in Brisbane, the All Blacks could claim a 15 – 14 victory. We could also claim the 2019 Cricket World Cup final on run rate. There could be victories in rugby league tests, international football, cricket, Basketball, Netball and Yachting. The list is almost endless.
This then brings me to my third discovery. I now have a newfound respect for our politicians. They do delightful things like host live video chats after putting their daughter to bed; They go mountain biking while in lockdown, they have scandals over cups of tea, they punch news reporters, abscond to the US owning $280,000 and even announce snap elections while drunk.
But, no matter what you think of New Zealand’s politicians, at least none of them are orange!