It hurts more when someone you look up to disappoints. Democracy is an expression of the will of the people. We as humans have accomplished so much and so much more is ahead of us… maybe. I have faith in humanity, but it has been weakened by disappointing democracies.
Many forms of Government have been tried and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.
This is what we got, relying on each other as citizens, as voters. When democracies make mistakes the responsibility rests on the people. We are the power. With our votes and other participation we are the foundation, the basis of our democratic government. As a US citizen I share responsibility for my country’s mistakes.
And lately we have been setting a terrible example for the democratic world to follow.
United States of America: Some stories that have stuck in my head
- DHS: “His mother never followed any rules, and now DHS isn’t, either.”
- NSA: “There was no intentional and willful violation of the law.” and Americans view him as a whistleblower
- Cops: “They just continued to fire.” and “I was crying and begging him to get off me.” and “I love you and goodbye.”
- Drones: “Double tap.” and “Circumstantial evidence.” and “Non-lethal.”
- Prisons: “Kids for cash.” and “It’s a millionaire’s business.”
- Guns: “There must be some way to morally shame these people.” and “Majority of NRA members are also in favor of many of these policies.”
- Money and politics: “The system is what the system is.” and “I’m simply candidly calling to ask for a contribution.” and “A majority of millionaires agree.” I think separating money from politics/corporations from political power, like we separate church from state, is the only way we can be in a place to work out our problems. If we don’t fundamentally address the legal corruption of our elected officials then our government is more than an obstacle, it is the cause of our worst problems.
- Homeschooling: Domenic Johansson. Reading through the case file, I’m still disappointed in Sweden, but it certainly is more gray that it seemed in the initial context when the story went viral online. This is a country that much of the democratic world looks up to as a success story, so anything wrong is extra noteworthy. It seems that Domenic was taken with the best of intentions, and Sweden really thinks what they are doing is right and good. It is a small thing maybe compared to the horrible stories in the US, but it is a problem woven into the fabric of a pedestaled democracy. It is not obvious, and not easy to fix. The best I can think of is simply allowing families who want to homeschool, or for other reasons in conflict with Swedish society, to more easily emigrate.
- Police: “No ill will.” Good update, cop actually charged with murder. And “Taser use by police in B.C. has fallen 87 per cent since Dziekanski’s death.” Another good update. I’m feeling a bit better about Canada. I hope the US can follow suit in addressing police abuse.
- NSA: “David’s detention was unlawful and inexcusable.”
- Riot: “You will feel the full force of the law.”
- Massacre: “Egyptian officials said the prisoners were killed in the course of an escape attempt.” I had perhaps unrealistically high hopes for the people of Egypt with the initial overthrow of Mohamed Morsi. It had at first seemed like a beautiful thing but is now a wound to hope.
- Fukushima: “Cascading nuclear disaster.” and “I fear we are in acute danger.” and “300 tons of radioactive water.” My impression is that the nuclear power companies in Japan have a degree of influence over politics as bad as anything in the US.
- Homosexual: “I think this is kind of an invented problem.” and “Propaganda of homosexualism.” Thank you Russia for granting Snowden asylum but….
So I hold these and many other stories in my head as I consider our voting based system. And I think while democracy is flawed, it can function well enough, but only so long as its citizens are educated and participate more than not. A healthy majority must have basic civic sanity, or we make the flaws bleed and the people’s government fail.
Let’s stop water-boarding and assassinating. Let’s stop imprisoning and executing. Let’s stop invading everyone’s privacy. Simply, let’s try being civilized. Let’s restore justice. Let’s set an example that won’t disappoint.