Thursday, June 19, 2008

Democracy: Dead or Dieing

Here's an interesting viewpoint being debated, the consideration that democracy has been overridden by status quo of the two party system:

It is a voice I have heard a lot of lately, and indeed throughout the presidential primaries. Whether one believes it or not this signals a big red alert for our nation. When a majority of the peoples of a sovereignty lack the voice, or are too complacent, to any longer bring a necessary positive change to that nation it can be understood that that nation is headed down the same route of so many great civilizations now vanished.

To put it another way from a child's viewpoint:

As ours is a democracy the sound functioning of our governing system requires two forgone conclusions:

1) That the voice be heard and acted on when a majority and

2) That people are vocal so the voice can be heard.

Where the debate was lively and spirited at the outset days of our nation one does not see that so much so today. Certainly the Ron Paul followers were this spirited, while the stuffed shirts of the GOP chose to stifle their participation as evidently way too lively for them. If you only looked at this as a study in tolerance of motion you could have a lot of fun with it.

Having a democracy mandates that you have freedom and rights, including the right to be heard.

Having followed the Ron Paul campaign in the press alerts one definitely saw a pattern of media focus on the two main party candidates to the exclusion of other candidates. The press pre-set an outcome and then propagandized that as if it is the people talking. For instance, Ron Paul would be shunted in, or entirely left out of, televised debates. If you hadn't been following all the Ron Paul news alerts you would have missed that he was even still running. Thus the voice of democracy all too much has become the voice of the press, or more basically who is in the ear of the press who is then their mouthpiece.

Sometimes we're not permitted our own life by reason of government interference though supposedly protected as an inalienable human right. This has been highlighted by the permissive wording of the Patriots Act which does tend to stifle democracy. Speak out against the war loud enough and you could find yourself, in the worst case scenario, under surveillance as a suspected terrorist, seized and incarcerated for years with no representation or trial or without charges even. If someone suspects you have the wrong friends and reports this you then could be put on the watch list, perhaps grabbed and secreted away in the name of the Patriots Act, it is subject to such abuse. Seems remote, but it appears now this was the case in at least a few hundred of the detainees who were held for years without representation, so don't say it can't happen.

Evidently if you have nothing to say you could be "persuaded" until you do. We now know about waterboarding but what else went on? It is not known at what point you are believed, if you have no connection, or when the military junta would finally accept that and let you go carry on with your right to life. It's the government's call. This is a reversal of the historical precedents of our nation, innocent until proven guilty.

Now that a pretense of trials is occurring in Guantanamo to determine the guilt of the detainees a majority have been released. There was at one point about 800 detainees and now there is around 200 so one can suspect those released were not guilty of anything or nothing that would stand up to a trial. Can you imagine being incarcerated 3 to 5 years while never being charged and with no recourse, all the while not being guilty but having to endure abusive and humiliating treatment, assumed to be guilty until you can prove yourself innocent? With no counsel provided that you could prove your innocence. Even in the climate of fear promulgated by the righteous war on terrorism this is an insult to a nation founded on human rights.

In the surreal 007 world of cover ops these things go on. Where this has crossed the line in the undeclared war against Iraq and the proclaimed "war" against terrorism the attempts to legitimize the actions taken don't hold up against the burden of proof.

There's nothing democratic about the unjust treatment of others. While Bush's popularity is at an all time low here in the US it would appear he is rated even worse across other nations of the world. During Bush's recent overseas tour over 100,000 people turned out to protest Bush at one Iraqi war demonstration in England, our closest ally.

This is not good, yet our democracy is a hope factor for the world. Brits evidently count on on us to lead the way and hold the line for freedom per reports from abroad. One columnist advocate has said:

" George Bush is on his way out. He as an individual is not that significant but it's what he represents.

Whoever replaces him in the US is going to carry on with the same policy. They're preparing to install themselves in Iraq semi-permanently. It's turning Iraq into a colony while thousands of people continue to die.'"

Concurring or not with that sentiment there is more than a few overseas voices with similar sentiments.

To be the aggressor in the Iraqi war has been a betrayal not only in the US, where this was in no way a democratic choice, but now has put our president and our country's presence in the world in ill regard. The 100,000 to 200,000 protesters in London indicates a considerable dissenting voice. That is just in one city, in one country.

On the other hand it came to my attention when I observed a British editor friend of mine avidly following the Ron Paul campaign. John Mappin, owner of The Independent chain of papers wrote a song in support of Dr. Paul's campaign efforts. For some time this event monopolized the Google searches with numerous mostly foreign press feeds. Fascinated by this I did some looking around and discovered that the campaign of Ron Paul was indeed being watched by the world in hopes that he would win and some of the freedom would return to their shores.

Holding high the torch for freedom is not just an American phenomena. It is the hope and trust for the world. I surely hope we don't let them down.

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