Tuesday, 17 June 2014

The Death of Democracy

I speak from a North American perspective and therefore a similar bias.  As I understand the history of Canada and the USA, democracy was a fundamentally different hope than that which we currently 'enjoy'.  There were some principles that existed at our respective beginnings that  were based on the following assumptions.  These include:
  1.  Those who sought office did so out of an altruistic desire to serve for the general benefit of the people.
  2. While there were certainly differences of opinion regarding the proper approach to address the needs of the country, there was generally a measure of respect and civility in consideration of others positions.
  3. There were no special interest groups who could unnaturally influence opinion through the sheer force of money.
  4. The value of an individual's vote was considered sacred. (Notwithstanding the fact that women were denied the right too long.)  It was almost a sin to neglect to vote.
Fast forward through the years...what have we achieved.

  1. Too often we have career politicians who are conspicuous by their inability to succeed at anything else.  They seek power for the sake of power and will say and do almost anything to retain power.  A recent and blatant example occurred in my provincial jurisdiction with the expenditure of over $1 billion by the sitting government to 'buy' seats that secured their re-election victory.
  2. Governments in both countries have devolved to a point in which there needs to be an 'x' rated warning about the behaviour you should expect to encounter during a sitting of the legislature.  It isn't simply a lack of respect.  Rather it is closer to hatred for opposing views and it is often expressed in a manner that would warrant expulsion if it occurred in any of our schools or offices.
  3. Money is selling opinions.  I use the word advisedly because most frequently the message is not about facts but about debasing and misrepresenting an opposing point of view.  It is done in both a subtle and a blatant fashion and  uses the various forms of media. It becomes a case of repeating the lie so often so as to become fact.  The courts have upheld this right of deception as part of our freedom of expression.  He/she with the deepest pockets now has the greatest influence on the outcome.
  4. In response to the above, voter apathy is reaching a record at every election.  Often turnout is under 50% which means that majority victories are being won with only 20% of eligible voters expressing support.  Given the above, especially #3, this has the potential  to hijack an election using entirely legal means.
Who do we blame?  Look in the mirror...

I was sent the following 'obituary' and it seems very relevant.  Take a look.

Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, COMMON SENCE, who has been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was, since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape. He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as:
    1. Knowing when to come in out of the rain;
    2. Why the early bird gets the worm;
    3. Life isn't always fair;
    4. And maybe it was my fault.

Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don't spend more than you can earn) and reliable strategies (adults, not children, are in charge).
His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well-intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place. Reports of a 6-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition.
Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job that they themselves had failed to do in disciplining their unruly children.
It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer sun lotion or an aspirin to a student; but could not inform parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.
Common Sense lost the will to live as the churches became businesses; and criminals received better treatment than their victims.
Common Sense finally gave up the will to live, after a woman failed to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap, and was promptly awarded a huge settlement.
Common Sense was preceded in death by,

    1. his parents, Truth and Trust,
    2. his wife, Discretion,
    3. his daughter, Responsibility,
    4. his son, Reason.

He is survived by his 5 stepbrothers;

    1. I Know My Rights
    2. I Want It Now
    3. Someone Else Is To Blame
    4. I'm A Victim
    5. Pay me for Doing Nothing

Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone.


  1. Jim, This pretty well describes the sorry state the world is in!!!
    Wayne S

  2. Hey Jim,

    Outstanding article on the death of democracy. I think you should have it published to reach a wider audience (newspaper, magazine, etc.).