Ecuador, Green M&Ms and USA Politics
What if I told you that two almost simultaneous polls were conducted about green M&Ms. The first poll, cast far and wide, asked USA residents, if they liked green M&Ms. Only a scant 14% of USA residents approved of green M&Ms. Less than a month later, a subsequent, even more extensive, nationwide poll was conducted, asking USA residents to select their favorite color of M&M. Surprisingly, a whopping 96.4% selected green M&Ms. Admit it…you’re scratching your head about now. As a minimum, you’re thinking, “Huh?”. At worst, you’re probably asking, “What are they putting into the USA public water supply?” I mean, only 14% of USA residents like and approve of green M&Ms, yet when the same USA consumer gets to select a color of M&M from the variety offered, they select the very same green M&Ms they supposedly dislike. We will call this the “Green M&M Theorem.” How do you feel about that?
Well…I got good news…and I got bad news. The good news is that no such polls ever occurred regarding green M&Ms. It’s alright…exhale…sign of relief, followed by, “Whew!” Now…about the bad news. Less than one month before the 2014 USA Congressional elections, a Gallup Poll showed Congress enjoying a whopping 14% approval rating [http://www.gallup.com/poll/178607/weeks-elections-congressional-approval-low.aspx]! Just 14%! Flash forward less than a month later and of the 2014 Incumbent Congressional candidates, 96.4% were reelected to public office [https://www.facebook.com/freeandequal?fref=photo]! That’s…96.4%! That’s right…most USA residents disapprove of Congress, but when given a choice, they elect the very same Congressional leaders of which they disapprove! It’s ok…I do it, also. Go back to questioning what goes into the USA drinking water.
Now, what the blazes does this have to do with Ecuador? Oddly enough, plenty. As the USA voter base was inexplicably casting votes for the same folks they vilify, the Ecuadorian political system was weaving its way towards greater freedom of choice. In an overwhelming, and quite expected, vote, Ecuador has decided to allow indefinite reelections for all politicians. That’s all…not just the President. I am almost sure that line will be blurred in the Western press. From the hallowed halls of Quito [As the sound of Taps wafts through the air], political term limits in Ecuador are now D.O.A. If the Ecuadorian electorate wishes to end the term of a political candidate, they will have to do so at the ballot box, utilizing the most powerful term limit tool in the global arsenal – the vote. So, why haven’t USA citizens done the same?
Ecuador has a long history of giving the boot to undesirable political candidates and the electorate has shown little patience for those it dislikes. That is what makes President Correa’s staggering 72% approval rating so notable. He has survived this long not due to political patronage, but due to overwhelming public voter respect. Ecuadorians do not give a hoot about political patronage. Just ask the three previous sitting Incumbent Mayors of my Province, Santa Elena, all who were soundly defeated in their reelection bids. Out with the old…in with the new. The Ecuadorian voter shows no signs of sloth, when they truly no longer approve of a political candidate. So…why not the same from the USA voter?
The contrast is essential, because I can already hear the “drumbeat” of the Western press. It will sound like, “Egad, Correa has just declared himself Emperor!” If not that, some similar, nonsensical form of hyperbole. The Western Press will chastize the Ecuadorian people for having the true freedom to choose, without government imposed, nanny state limitations on freedom of choice. The Ecuadorian voter will simply have to be directly responsible for the fate of political Incumbents. Vote “yes”, for approve and vote “no” to disapprove. If that yardstick would have been applied to voter sentiment in the recent USA 2014 Congressional elections, then somewhere in the vicinity of 86% of “da’ bums” would have been tossed to the curb. Instead, 96.4% were returned to office, so they could continue the same policies that 86% of the USA populace disapproved of, at least according to Gallup. While I take my polls not with a grain, but an entire salt mine, of caution, the numbers suggest a severe disconnect between USA voter sentiment and USA voter action.
As a minimum, before what I see as the wise decision to terminate term limits in Ecuador is criticized and mocked, the Ecuadorian voters should be given an election cycle or two to see how they respond to this great power they have just been handed. As Spiderman’s uncle taught the comic book figure so well, “With great power, comes great responsibility.” In my opinion, the Ecuadorian voter has always acted responsibly, most notably, when confronted with the power grabs of tyranny. The key question, as a previous article of mine begged, is whether Correa is seen as a dictator or beloved leader? From ground zero, my perspective strongly suggests the latter. The Ecuadorian voter, quite unfettered from the excesses of artificial government control, will have the freedom of opportunity to voice that opinion, come the 2017 elections, should Correa choose to seek reelection. Let us hope they remember the oft quoted Spiderman maxim and avoid the “Green M&M Theorem.” As a minimum, let’s hope that the Western press, at least the USA press, remembers another “ditty”, about those living in glass houses…and the whole stone throwing thing. Viva freedom of choice!