Tuesday, November 29, 2016

When cities control the countryside

We will most likely lose our hospital due to a recent referendum that resulted in 66% of voters in our canton rejecting an initiative to keep regional hospitals open. And this is despite 80% of voters in our area voting otherwise.

The cities just don't want to subsidize the countrysides. Sadly, these urbanites don't realize what this means. Such a closure will bring us back to the days when people died of minor health complications.

Take my grandfather's brother, for example. He died of a ruptured appendix while attempting to walk the 45 minutes from Lauenen to the Saanen Hospital. It was the 1930's and his parents had both died of the Spanish Flu. His older half-brother--who was now head of household--had refused to give him taxi fare (the only car in the village belonged to the postman).

This means that if you are in our village and break your leg, suffer a rupturing appendix or a stroke, you will have to get yourself to the closest city hospital, which could take you more than an hour by car on windy mountain roads. There will be an increase in surgeries being done on the spot by house physicians. Is this safe? Many say to take a helicopter, but what if there is fog like there has been due to warming temperatures?

This is an example of the cities controlling the countryside.

In contrast, the recent US presidential election is an example of the countrysides (or what is left of them) controlling the cities (California and Northeast).

These two unrelated democratic events show how urban-rural power struggles can end in opposite ways. The 2016 US presidential election resulted in cities (represented in the popular vote) voting for Clinton while the rural areas voted for Trump (thanks to the Electoral College).

Some say this is what happens when you have a democracy with federalism (the Electoral College) and democracy without federalism (a popular vote).

Democracy isn't perfect in either country.


  1. Very interesting article illustrating and reflecting upon the respective merits (and pitfalls) of universal suffrage versus federalism. Thank you.

  2. You're very welcome! Thank you for reading and commenting!

  3. It amaazes how the things we take advantage of in the rural areas, are the same things that the urban areas desperately need but don't have!

  4. Good point! Thank you for your comment.