But . . This is Supposed to be Government by the People
Readers should consider carefully that in every country with a democratic government, 'the people' are becoming increasingly aloof, disinterested and disenfranchised, one symptom of which is voter turnouts of as little as 30% in some major countries.
That number is both astonishing and shameful, but accurately reflects an increasing realisation that voters have little if any influence on either an election outcome or on the policies of the government so elected.
People in Western countries are finally rejecting the delusion that they actually select their government.
In any democracy, voters do not select the candidates, nor do they choose or nominate anyone - the Party does that.
The candidates choose themselves and get some friends to sign their nomination papers. These are not nominations by the people, this is not "democracy", and it is not the people selecting their leaders.
Instead it is the ambitious unemployed who are applying for a job that has power, good pay and a lot of benefits, with the Party then making the selections based solely on who has the best chance of attracting financing, and of winning.
Voters are then offered an after-the-fact opportunity to rubber-stamp one of two or three clones who, amazingly, normally have no credentials, training, or proven experience.
Government "of the people, by the people and for the people" where we nominate individuals of our own choosing and then select the best of these to run our country, is pure fiction.
The political parties are far more powerful than the people, and they have all the control.
Moreover, almost all candidates lie. Increasingly, most will say whatever is necessary to obtain power but, after obtaining power, will then betray their promises, their voters and, often, their principles, to then do whatever is necessary to remain in power.
But apparently, for those of us who grew up in a democracy, that's really quite ok. No big deal. Lying politicians are so standard, so universal, so common, that this incredible situation is treated as the new normal.
The lack of respect that people in most democracies have for their elected leaders is staggering, but hardly surprising; their status is lower than that of used-car salesmen.
It's a tribute to propaganda and brainwashing (which we all know do not exist in 'democracies' like the US) that Americans will tell you, in defiance of all the clear evidence, that their system of government is the only "right" way.
And they'll invade your country and kill half your population, to prove it to you.
More than this, referendums (a national vote on a particular important issue), which were once the one remaining guarantee of true 'government by the people', at least on selected issues, are now generally forbidden - certainly Canada and the US have made this position very clear.
The reason is that these politicians who were elected by the people, are primarily interested in following their own ideology and agenda, and have no intention of permitting 'the people' to interfere.
I'm not saying that's a bad thing. If you want a devastating argument in favor of getting 'the people' out of government forever, you need only look at California.
But there are other issues here. Sometimes, as in the case of optional wars - and all wars are optional - since it is the people who will do all the dying and paying, perhaps they should also do the deciding.
If George W. Bush had called a referendum on Iraq, do you think the US would have gone to war? Not likely, but Bush wanted the war, so he just proceeded without asking. The people be damned.
Do you believe it represents the will of the American people that the US President can order the assassination of anyone in any country that he doesn't like? Almost certainly not. Do the people have anything to say about this? Of course not. The people be damned.
Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper recently approved, in a private deal without bidding, the purchase of $30 billion of US military aircraft, that nobody but him wanted. A referendum would have killed it, so he didn't call one. The public be damned.
Mr. Harper apparently is fervent in following the US law and order model of incarcerating 25% of its population, and so is building more prisons. Do the people want this? Of course not, because the country is in no way a religious Right-Wing extremist like Mr. Harper, so no referendum. The public be damned.
It may be true that Prime Minister Tony Blair was the only person in Britain who wanted to accompany his friend George Bush into a war with Iraq. His ministers didn't want it, and told him it was an illegal war, but in a Western democracy - a dictatorship under another name - Blair had the power to do what he wanted. The public be damned.
To anyone who follows the news, it cannot be much of a secret that the US has had 50 military bases on Okinawa for a great many years, much to the chagrin of the Japanese who live there and claim their lives are being destroyed by the US military.
The entire population of Okinawa, and much of the population of Japan itself, are very much opposed to these bases, especially the one at Futenma. Protests are constant and widespread. Nobody wants the bases there - except the US.
More than one Japanese President has taken office on the promise to rid Okinawa of these US bases, only to find himself quietly replaced by someone more pliable to US interests. How do you suppose that happens?
When virtually an entire nation is in favor of something, doesn't "democracy" dictate that the will of the people is obeyed? Well, not where the US is concerned, it doesn't. The public be damned.
The US wanted to install military missile bases in Poland and the Czech Republic where more than 80% of all citizens were firmly and vocally against them. Did the governments call a referendum to consult the public on such a serious matter? Of course not. The public be damned.
Australia recently had an internal leadership dispute. Kevin Rudd had been removed from that position, even though, based on various polls, he was much preferred by the people - who disliked Julila Gilard as their Prime Minister.
But Rudd was removed by the internal factions of the party, and there is no accountability to the general public. "The public" has neither say nor influence on these powerful political kingmakers.
In what way are any of these according to the principles of democracy, of government by the people, when elected politicians or political parties make all the important decisions that clearly disregard the wishes of the majority of the population?
The list is endless. "Government by the People" is a fantasy. If it ever existed, it most certainly does not exist today. Democracy, in all its supposed glory, is a fairy tale for the simple-minded.
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