[thoughts from ~burning woman~ by Sha’Tara]
I don’t remember ever hearing the word “democracy” bandied about more than in the last couple of months. Ever notice that the more you hear a word, the less meaning it has? So let’s start from basic: a dictionary definition, so we’re all on the same playing field.
democracies. 1 a : government by the people; especially : rule of the majority b : a government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free elections.
I would imagine that most people would accept that definition, and most people would promptly go back to watching TV after checking the fridge for a beer or a half bottle of wine (which I’m sorely tempted to do right now!). And in the case of my southern neighbours, most of them would rather not be reminded that their particular belief in democracy made them vote in, and elect, probably the least presidential character imaginable. I’m not saying it’s going to be all bad… well it probably will so let’s not fool ourselves, but what I’m saying is, something’s seriously awry with a system that allows such a thing to happen, especially when it didn’t just happen, it was “pending” for months.
Yes, for several months, the people of the democracy saw a humanoid caricature, essentially a cartoon character, strut upon a stage ostensibly reserved for real people (in fact so reserved it is that a couple of real people wanting to seriously represent the people weren’t even allowed on that stage) clowning about and saying things that are usually only seen in cheap, crass and gross low budget comedies and tawdry TV sitcoms. I’m saying months of non-stop public appearances that should have convinced any Earthian with even two brain cells to rub together that here was something to avoid as you would a cave-in on the freeway. I mean, hello? You just don’t go there. You laugh a few times with the cartoon, then you go watch the Simpsons (I don’t watch TV so assuming that’s still running?).
But that’s not what happened. With a *three-foot long nose still growing and sprouting leaves, this Pinocchio got enough popular votes to get itself elected president of the nation. And already, typical of such soul-less and heartless characters it’s already plunging itself deep into the political establishment and getting ready to feather its own nest. I wonder if any will notice that this emperor has no clothes? I wonder if anyone will remember you can’t make a silk purse from a sow’s ear? I wonder if anyone will realize that putting a gold crown on the head of a pig and sticking a scepter between it’s front feet doesn’t make it a king?
Well, these are the obvious questions, but they do not answer my question which is, what exactly is a democracy? According to president Lincoln, the US democracy was to be a government of the people, by the people, for the people… in perpetuity – Gettysburg address. So there you have it, and I think I’m getting closer to what I’m looking for: the difference between a real democracy, and one in name only. Lincoln gives us this difference: government OF the people, BY the people, FOR the people. Don’t they teach that in American schools? I’m not American and I’ve known this Gettysburg address line since grade school… and I didn’t even have to salute a flag or sing God Bless America, and still I remembered it.
I don’t vote. I haven’t done so since 1980, deliberately and with purpose aforethought. I’m a conscientious objector. If they made me vote, I’d spoil the ballot. Call it a form of satyagraha. Non-violent non cooperation. And now that I’ve defined the concept of living in a democracy, I can explain why I don’t vote; why I cannot vote. Before someone jumps up with, “voting is your sacred duty” or some such brain dead claim, let me say that for voting to be a sacred duty, that duty must be to a sacred concept. Otherwise it cannot be sacred, can it. Is the concept I’d be voting in, sacred? After following the presidential “race” can that question even be raised? A “democratic” foreign policy explained in six words by Hillary Clinton: “We came, we saw, he died!” (followed by loud laughter) and endless racist and misogynist comments by Trump the pussy groper, sacred?
Two things then I can say that would make a democracy legitimate for me. One has to do with who gets elected. Let’s see, government BY the people. OK, that’s clear enough. You don’t need a campaign and millions of dollars wasted while children go hungry, on election day every legitimate citizen of the state goes to the polls and votes for only one person: herself or himself or theirself (if you’re a trans like myself!) and predictably, the result is that everyone becomes president. Everyone is the government. And also predictably, that government is going to be of the people and for the people. Well maybe it wouldn’t be a democracy any longer, it would become a peopleocracy. In such a “system” I would have no problem voting as I couldn’t pick a candidate who is smarter, richer, whiter or blacker, older or younger, sicker or healthier, maler or femaler than myself. If I voted for a slimeball, guess who that would be? I’m not saying the Earthian human race is ready or able to operate such a simple system, but it’s the only way to have a democracy that is so in more than words and emotionally sentimental outbursts.
Second thing, bringing it much closer to home. In a more real democracy, and in a situation such as the US is experiencing after electing to shoot itself squarely in its collective foot, in their two-party system, when one of the candidates win, the other automatically becomes vice-president. There is no logic in the winner picking some ninny yes-man from his own side. He didn’t get all the votes, did he? In fact in this case he got less votes than the other candidate but through rigged elections (which of course he’s now not about to contest) he got spot number one. OK, I don’t like Candidette #2 either, certainly no more than Candidate #1, but by virtue of received popular votes, she gets the vice presidency. That way the votes aren’t wasted, everybody wins and all the representatives have to do is decide on how their proposed policies, agendas and changes get implemented, by popular referendum if necessary. Of course I’m aware that at the level of willingness to cooperate that we’re dealing with here, they may go for the jugular and kill each other. I don’t see that as any great loss, do you?
(*Reference is to the story of the wooden puppet, Pinocchio. When he lied his nose grew so everyone would know he was lying.)