Flumble wrote:How is it possible that the US —allegedly the best county in the world, always boasting that voting is not just a right but a duty (at least that's what I gathered from South Park), kind of developed at the very least— can't manage to make voting easy for every single citizen?
If voting were easy, we wouldn't have to shame people into doing it by framing it as a duty.
But to answer your question, it's mostly politics and demographics. We as a nation are very good at collecting and analyzing statistics. Therefore, everyone in power knows that if we make it easier for non-English speakers to vote, one party will benefit. If we create a pathway to restore voting rights to felons who have served their time, one party will benefit. If young people, people who can only vote well before or well after business hours, people who need to vote early on a weekend, people stationed overseas in the military, people in certain neighbors disconnected from public transportation, or people who don't own cars and therefore would have to out of their way to get a government issued photo ID, or any of a number of other groups vote, we can predict with reasonable certainty the kind of candidates they would favor. So every time someone proposes something to make voting potentially easier, the other party sees it as a calculated political move and resists.
Remember, this is the country where many people considered Get Out the Vote a partisan group--even if the message isn't partisan, young people skew liberal, so getting young people to vote is pro-Democrat in effect, even if not in intent. In fact, in a country where most people are quite okay with manipulating young people into not doing drugs, or drinking less, or not driving while buzzed, or avoiding premarital sex, or having safe premarital sex, or not using a phone while driving, or serving your country, or standing up to bullies, or any of a number of other supposedly pro-social behaviors, quite a few Americans get pretty darn riled up about the guys who try to encourage youth to fulfill one of the most important duties (or exercise one of the most important rights) of citizenship.
Also, through... let's just call it quirks of history... our voting system is weird as all hell to begin with, and despite being a fairly young country born out of tossing aside tradition in a huge way, we Americans are shockingly deferential to tradition when it comes to our institutions. We began with vote apportionment meant to appease states that considered themselves themselves "states" in the sovereign sense, who were more interested in making sure each state was fairly represented in Congress, rather than each person. We began without even really the pretense that the President was elected by the people--the Electoral College came about because a large contingent of the founding fathers thought Congress should elect the President based solely on their own judgment, and our current system is a weird compromise between a popular election and an election by Congress.
And don't get me started on the land-owning requirements, literacy tests, overtly discriminatory denial of voting rights, and the whole 3/5th of a person thing. Despite the fact that many of us don't really like how things were, we're strangely afraid to change them too quickly.
From what I've heard it's actually been the US that has been pushing back multilateral initiatives for the past decades. And now you're telling me the US has done some unilateral initiatives too... rather than going with/pushing forward the multilateral ones? What's wrong with you people?
It's part politics, part "American independence." No doubt, one reason part of the reason we didn't ratify Kyoto is because we have a major political party who denies climate change and tends to resist any sort of business regulation. But there's also a thread that runs through both parties where a lot of people don't like multi-lateral anything. Some people really don't like the U.N., or NATO, or the World Bank, or any of a number of other organizations or treaties where our country is surrendering some bit of its sovereignty on certain issues.
Also, many of our unilateral initiatives are highly flawed in the eyes of many, which probably dampened enthusiasm for the multilateral initiatives that have come up. Actually, one criticism I have of a lot of our environmental laws in general is that they have reporting and compliance requirements that are just onerous enough to be a burden on companies trying to comply in good faith--but the enforcement mechanisms are so weak that they do nothing to make deliberate violators unprofitable. So there are probably some people who believe that if we can't control companies here who save more money breaking the law than they lose paying the fines, there's no way we can force some guy in China to comply with an international treaty.
Also, some people are morons who get one cold winter and suddenly refuse to believe that global warming could possibly exist.