by Per Bylund
by Per Bylund
Every year we hear on TV about the United Nations sending observers to poor "third world" countries to oversee their election process. There is nothing strange with that — most of us expect not-so-civilized countries to be corrupt and not honor the democratic process. Of course we should send proud democratic people from our great democratic nations to oversee the elections in infant democratic countries. We could teach them a lot.
Actually, we Swedes are probably the most peaceful, successful, neutral and democratic people on earth (if you ask us). Everybody can learn from the Swedes. Just take a look at our extremely successful Swedish model "third way" politics — our welfare state is enormous, but it works splendidly and we get superb public services almost for free. Who wouldn't want that?
The Swedish democracy is also probably the most democratic in the world. Sure, public funding is only available for the bigger parties and no parties will be represented in parliament unless they get at least four percent of the votes. But those are practical necessities — they don't really harm our democracy in any way.
Oh, and we've stopped counting the "blank" votes. They are nowadays called "invalid" and are not to be counted. But that doesn't really restrict our democracy since there are so many democratic welfare-embracing parties in parliament anyway. Anyone who is a true democrat can easily find a party representing one's dearest, most important values. And why would you want to count such votes anyway — people not voting for a real, established party don't know what's best for them anyway.
Also, our election process is superb. It is based on equality, the rule of law, an effective and efficient welfare state, and everybody's right to choose his representatives in parliament. Sure, you cannot really vote for the specific person, but why would you like to do that? The parties have lists with names already lined up for you in the order they think you like them most. That should do, and they know better who you should vote for anyway. And democracy is not only for the ordinary, voting population — it is for parties and politicians as well. That's the beauty of it, isn't it? We're all in on it and we all have a say; it doesn't really matter if we disagree, were still together — in the same boat.
It is strange most countries don't send people to Sweden for every election to check out how we do these things. After all, we are the world champions in democracy, and we are a truly democratic people. You can all learn from us, and we'll be glad to help if you want to learn how we have organized our superior state.
We're also the best in the world in not really taking sides in conflicts; we love them both and thus want them both to win. They are both right — it is just a matter of perspective. After all, terrorists and dictators are humans too! That's the beauty of being neutral — you get to be the one standing next to the mess pointing your finger at everybody. And we do it so well.
But we are a small country, however superior in many ways. So the United Nations is very important to us; that's the greatest institution in the world. In the UN we get to hide behind diplomacy and never really have to take responsibility for our ideas and suggestions — we're all in on it. And we really don't have to take responsibility for our great neutral, cocky no-good better-knowing arrogant suggestions.
So why don't you take a look at our superior elections process? You should start now, before we're too far ahead of you. For example, we've just introduced a new progressive approach: for the elections this year, for the first time ever, we will actually check people's identity before voting.
August 28, 2006
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