2006-03-07 1340 Opinion: == Democracy is a lie == Damn, I'm still angry. In theory, democracy is a Good System. It's . . .

Democracy is a lie

Damn, I’m still angry.

In theory, democracy is a Good System. It’s a method of ensuring that the people in power are accountable for their actions. It’s a way of allowing the common man a chance at participating in the mechanism of government at a fundamental level. It’s a right that was been fought over and hard won. It should be cherished.

But it’s a mechanism that is badly broken right now. It’s flawed because it’s essential concepts have been twisted and turned into something completely different. What should be a force for good has become something used for evil. It’s become a lie.
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Here are a few essential tenets of Democracy

  • Government by consent
  • Politicians are servants of the people
  • Equality of all the electorate

Individually, they’re excellent ideals. Together, they should be unbreakable.

But when the government itself chooses to ignore all three of these ideals for any reason, the system breaks down, badly.

Government by consent

The government is the voice of the people. In a democratic nation the government must listen to what people want; it should act on what the people want, by agreement from the people. Any actions by the government can only proceed from majority agreement by the people (or the people’s representatives).

This also means that everything should be open, that checks must be in place which ensure that consensus is always at the forefront of politician’s minds.

What we should never see in a democracy are closed-shop deals, profiteering, “official” secrecy and repeated denial. We should not see governments spying on their own people, using torture, or acting in any way contrary to what the majority of the people want.

It also means that consent should always be sought, and always be available. Elections once every four years from a limited set of candidates and manifestos is not enough. Key questions must always go to the people to answer. Questions like:

  • Should we go to war?
  • How should we approach this environmental issue?
  • Should we make this trade deal?
  • What should be the punishment for murder?
  • Should we use torture?

Essentially, any question where debate is likely to spark emotion, it should go to the people, and their will must be upheld. Period.

Politicians are servants of the people

Politicians are our representative. The act on our behalf. On the world’s stage, they are our servants. Nothing more, nothing less. Politicians must remember their position. We are their masters. All to often this is forgotten as they raise taxes, fund their own lifestyles while their constituents are in poverty and repeatedly favour the laws that add to their own comfort to the detriment of the livelihood of others.

Historically, if a servant does wrong, he is dismissed. Not four years down the line, but immediately. I’m not talking about the usual tabloid sleaze about affairs, drugs, etc. If a politician acts against the will of his constituents first and foremost, he should go. Now.

Equality of all the electorate

The 80/20 rule is a sad fact of life that should be impossible in a democracy. How can 80% of the wealth be owned by 20% of the people when everyone is equal? How can laws be made which accept this when those 80% of people have the majority vote?

How can laws be made which reinforce the powers of the 20%, and serve to push the 80% further into the ground? Laws are too often made which favour the rich, which serve to line the pockets of politicians and their circle of friends.

Major US corporations are time and again benefiting from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Time and again there are links back to key politicians and their allies.

And time and again, it’s the poorest neighbourhoods that are targeted by the military for new army recruits. It’s the blood of the poor people that is feeding the rich.

I don’t see any of Bush’s family listed at killed in action in Iraq, and I suspect I never will.

Democracy is a lie.

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