Date: 30 Sep 2013 14:33 Title: Chapter 1
I know I've read this before...was this a WFW by chance? Anyway, still as confusing as the first time, lol. Kudos to you, coming up with a political system seemingly from scratch. It's an interesting one, for sure, and I can imagine for an outside extremely alien.
The choices seem very limited, but this is also a small work of fiction; you kind of need to limit yourself or you risk losing the reader, so I'm not concerned with it. You also give a very valid reasoning in your response to Ln X, so I know you thought it out.
While maybe not the most efficient form of government, it certainly does seem like a reasonable course to take, especially for a society like Lafa's. Deciding and debating based on your family and friends, rather than purely political schmoozing, would make politicians less likely to try and gain favor with as many groups of people as possible, and instead talk about the important issues to them and what their stances are. I liked the idea that they would pick their platforms based on what the undecided voters felt was important, but the fact that aren't going to try and pull the wool over the voters eyes in the one chance they get to make a good impression is refreshing, especially nowadays.
Again, kudos to you. I do not have a mind for politics at all, and here you created a very complex custom system that actually does make sense, even to us. I feel really bad for Doug and Lili though...that's an awful long time to be caught up doing your civic duty. But then, maybe if we spent that much time on our own, maybe things would be somewhat different? Either way...really well done.
There was a monthly challenge about politics. I didn't want to write about upper-level intrigues. I wanted to follow a much lower level experience, the kind of things that happen when you and I pull a lever.
I got to thinking about how to handle undecided voters, as there don't seem to be good mechanisms now, here on Earth, for working with them. I think that if there are a lot of undecideds, politicians aren't doing a good job of getting their ideas across. Hence the Calafans care about that - it matters to them that decisions need to be made. I wanted to get people away from voting for their least unfavorite choice, or just randomly casting a ballot.
The five issues would also be fairly straightforward. They were pretty unemotional things, more or less designed to be the sort of bond issues that are decided locally. Except for opening up relations with Andoria, it's pretty much what you'd cast a ballot on during an off-year. Plus the politicians would be limited in terms of what they needed to do. I despise the fact that politicians these days are more or less constantly campaigning. Making it so that only one day is allowed for campaigning means that incumbents can govern, and candidates can have lives outside of campaigning. I get so sick of robocalls and political ads, hence the idea that they would limit that (I wish we would).
Thank you for reading and reviewing. And yeah, I can see where it's confusing. Maybe I'll expand this idea at some point; I don't really have political characters and that might be a new area to cover.
Date: 29 Sep 2013 22:08 Title: Chapter 1
This is a brave story, having Douglas face the idea of democratic voting for the first time in his life. I can fully understand the confusion he confronted with.
Still you did a fine job of exploring this alien democratic so that it felt believable system with its pros and cons like all systems.
You also did a good job of explaining how Hoshi ego is damaging the Terran government and everything rests on the civil services.
Still was good of Lili to try and explain to Douglas to vote rather than just enforce her voting views on him and try and make out that what he should be thinking.
Interesting the New Voters that were given a meet and greet to democratic voting.
We saw the quick side in Lili voting, and the long side in Douglas not been able to decide on how to vote.
Interesting little talk from the alien-polling officer to Douglas about the important of the undecided voters.
I wanted it to be a lot like jury deliberation is - you're just sort of forced to hang around until a decision of some sort is made. It's not necessarily the best-ever decision, but at least you can say you made one. And the candidates should really get concerned if there are a large number of undecided voters at the end, even if someone wins in a landslide. To my mind, that would mean that the candidates' messages, good or bad, haven't been communicated too clearly.
As for Doug, he's a guy who was told, for over 50 years, what to do, how to act, what to say, where to go, etc. Suddenly he's forced into making a decision, and it's a big one, and he feels like it's all on his head. Plus he spent his life in the MU staying out of decisions like this, as they were dangerous. To be entrusted with what feels like a huge and unfamiliar responsibility is more than a little frightening and confusing. Democracy? It's overwhelming.
Thank you for reviewing.
Date: 02 Feb 2013 22:17 Title: Chapter 1
Thanls, jespah - that was a really interesting look as to how government, politics and voting function in an alien culture.
I especially liked the idea that all the politicians only have one say and then the rest of the deliberations - or tweaking of the policies if you will - is left up to the common man. The politicians are forced to listen to their constituents, not the other way around. It's a lesson many of our American politicians could stand to learn...
I wanted to excise a lot of the personality out of it. You vote on issues, not pretty faces. And any fights about voting are with your peers.
Date: 01 Feb 2013 16:27 Title: Chapter 1
Only five issues to vote upon? It doesn't sound very democratic because since Ubvelwew (some tongue twister by the way!) will be First Minister, what if say there's a major blight in two different regions on Lafa II and the government's resources are stretched. The people won't have a say in matters until the next year's elections.
Also only five options to vote for? What if all the options are the ones a voter does not consider important? What if in his city there is a major crime problem that say effects the entire province (or however Lafa II is divided up administratively) and that issue is not part of the vote? How can he decide to pick which candidate when this issue is not even being discussed? It doesn't seem very democratic, or perhaps there are local forms of government to address the smaller issues. Still only five issues, you would think there would be dozens!
Finally a constitutional monarchy? If the First Minister is the head of the democratic government then what is the point of a monarch? Take for instance the UK, my country has a modern constitutional monarchy but for all intents and purposes it is strictly ceremonial and though the Queen has powers, the moment she used them there would be uproar, so as such she is a puppet; a mere figurehead to represent British tradition. Does the same apply in Lafa II?
It is an interesting voting system you have devised but it just seems impractical, inefficient and perhaps even undemocratic! Still it made me look up a few things and I like that as I always appreciate a story which makes the reader use his brain and question things. So on that regard I like what you have done.
All in all a good food for thought.
I wanted the deliberations to resemble jury duty. Hence the issues are somewhat artificially limited, as you pointed out. But, truth be told, people here consider few issues when voting for President. I doubt that most people dive deeply in the US or UK tax codes when voting. The issues are also limited in order to, hopefully, eliminate frivolous reasons for casting ballots (e. g. due to a candidate's looks or family affiliations).
Plus in the Lafa System there's voting every year, for representatives who are a more local form of governing (this is why a clerk comments that Joss will be a new voter in 2175 - he'll be 16 but the votes for First Minister are every 6 years). The off years are different, and could conceivably be where people deliberate about more than 5 issues.
I wanted to take personalities out of the equation, so there's only one chance for the candidates to impress (although they are likely all former reps so they are known to the people). Everything occurs close to Election Day so it's got to be fast (few issues mean that deliberations and the like can actually finish in a timely fashion). I also wanted for undecided voters to be placed into a situation where they would open themselves up to be swayed. Last-minute undecided voters in the US (particularly in the last 4 or so elections) are a mystery to me, as there is such a gulf between the 2 main political parties. However, I'm sure there are people who stay undecided because they enjoy a bit of media attention, and even the attention of their peers. I wanted to cut that out at the root.
The system is much like the UK in that the High Priestess is a figurehead (for the most part) much like the Queen of England, and the First Minister is akin to the Prime Minister. However, the High Priestess is also the spiritual and religious leader, and she has major psionic powers, so she's not quite like QEII. Plus this story is post-Reversal, so the High Priestess in the midst of recovery from major physical trauma, and the old First Minister has been thrown out and jailed (presumably the System was governed by an interim First Minister in between then and when this story takes place).
Finally, it's an alien culture, hence their ideas of what is and isn't democracy should differ from ours.
Thanks for the review!