Saturday, November 3, 2012

Inverse Proportions – (Politically proportional or not)

An inverse proportion can describe a relation where the scales of effort and results are opposite, i.e. greater effort is used for less consequence.  It applies to the 80/20 rule, which states that 20% of the work attains 80% of the results while the last 20% requires 80% of the effort. 

This rule has a curious parallel in politics, specifically the actual voting process in general elections.  In the United States, voting during a presidential year can take great time and effort.  Voters place their booklet in the holder and then punch holes for the choice for the following positions, depending on the year, of course: president of the United States, senator  and representative for the U.S. Congress, senator and representative for the state legislature, representative for city legislature, governor, mayor, judge, police chief, local prosecutor,  sheriff, and board of education members, not to mention countless state propositions where allowed in that state (California, for example).  Voting truly demands concentration and several minutes of concentration.  U.S. citizens are naturally expected, even around half of them fail to do so, to find time during their working day to get to the voting stations. 

By contrast, the Israeli voters go their voting stations, generally a school within walking distance, show their ID to five people, who mark off their name on a list.  That is the hard part.  Then they walk into a curtain covered booth, take out an envelope, choose a piece of paper identifying the party of their choice, place that paper in the envelope, seal the envelope, exit the booth, and place the envelope in the appropriate box.  In fact, it took more time to write that description than to actually do it.  Ironically, Israelis get a day off to accomplish that complicated task.  Even then, a significant percentage of Israelis do not vote.
In short, Americans have to work hard to vote and don’t get any time off for fulfilling their civic duty.  By contrast, Israelis have almost nothing to do, aside from getting to the voting station, to pick their Knesset members.  However, as illogical as it sounds, Israelis get a day off.  It is truly inverse.

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