Here I am, an Indonesian who knows a little about the political system and scene in the United States, yet I am living and observing “probably” one of the most important political moments in the history of the United States. Intrigue by all the hype and being bombarded by the news about the election since two years ago, eventually I feel the need to know more about the electoral system in the U.S. Based on my little research, the electoral system in the U.S is a compromise system between allowing the Congress to elect the president and allowing the American people to elect the president.
So, the citizens in each state actually vote for electors when they vote for the presidential and vice-presidential candidates in the general presidential election. Each state is awarded electors equal to its number of representatives in Congress plus two electors for each senator. In 48 out of 50 states, the candidate who wins the popular vote, even if by a small margin, receives all of that state’s Electoral College votes. (Read more: http://www.ehow.com/how_2046711_understand-us-electoral-system.html)
Aside from this presidential election, the Americans also are required to vote on some propositions of the state laws. It can be a new proposition or an already existed proposition but needs some changes. I am living in San Francisco, California, one of the most diverse cities in the United States due to its immigrants and it’s a democrat state in political map. Yet surprisingly one of the propositions proposed by the state of California is to eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry. The so-called proposition 8 has been a controversial one and perhaps the most popular one here in San Francisco, California. Ads are everywhere in the media and people in the street are standing to ask people to propose or to oppose the proposition 8. Some Americans that I talked to, said most likely the proposition will pass as some rich conservatives in the upper level might give their “support”= money, in order to pass this bill. Yes, it’s happening here too folks!
For a foreigner like me who was being raised in a rather conservative Moslem country but has turned into a more liberal person, to see this kind of proposition is proposed by the state of California which I perceive to be one the more liberal states in the U.S is very upsetting. Not to forget to put into consideration that here in San Francisco we have a significant number of homosexuals compared to other cities. So, how come this basic right of the same sex to marry is still being questioned here? Why we keep discriminate people? Well, of course we discriminate and judge people almost in every second. But to legalized discrimination? That’s a different story. I am really expecting more of you, California!
*Today, they just passed the proposition 8 in 3 states: California, Florida and Arizona. Los Angeles stopped issuing marriage licenses to gay couples.