~ Real revolution is about going where no one else dares to go.
Yesterday I wrote about the waste of time that democracy, or arguing about it, represents. Heads up to those in Libya (or Afghanistan), democracy is not something you want to die for. But here I am writing about politics and political “solutions” when I could be scanning old photographs and letters and putting up more meaningful posts.
And that’s the point. Life is about the life one lives despite the overlay of the political system. Regardless of the political system life is pretty much the same – except for the lives of the very rich and those with power, and political power – i.e. those in “politics”, and the politicos.
Two examples of this fact come to mind, in my mind, from my past. The first example comes from my life in Afghanistan where there were of course Afghans, but also Germans (my age), Russians (my age), Egyptians my age and a few Indians (from India) and a few others from elsewhere too (like England).
The significance of this fact is that under the “global theory” of conflict, political passions and war, all of the opposing “systems” (meaning of government and governance) were represented in what maybe was my fairly small handful of “friends”. Afghanistan was an absolute Monarchy – meaning had a King; like England had when thousands of lives were lost overthrowing his “power”. Germany was (recently) a fascist state, my German friends had fathers that generally fought in the war (on the Socialist side) when they were twenty or maybe twenty-two and mothers who had endured (and survived) the allied bombings of cities in which only civilians did reside.
Most every day, or at least often, I drove or walked by the Russian Embassy (C.C.C.P.), a very real and very tangible symbol of “communism” and the power of the Soviet state (or estate). The diplomats there wore hats like my father would do and occasionally took their children out to the bazaars to see things and maybe buy things like I would do and maybe my father would do, except that he worked in his office far too hard, so basically didn’t.
England (then) was the most socialist of socialist nations (like Israel) and had socialized medicine which meant free health care like I had because my father (too) worked for the government, or with the government, but it was OK because being sick without medicine can be bad. The Brit rails were government owned (but efficient), the London double-deck buses were owned by the government too. The Russian built (from GMC molds) “Russian” buses run by the Afghan government were government owned, as were the GMC built streetcars that still graced the streets of Washington D.C. at substantial government expense.
In Egypt the government was run by Nasser. He liked Hitler (a little) maybe (though Hitler was dead), but that was because Nasser didn’t like the Brits because of the canal (the Suez Canal) that the French built before it was stolen and Egypt was stolen, and all that other Middle East history that you don’t want to know. What Egypt and Israel had in common was a hatred for Great Britain, but the democratically (read democracy) elected President of Israel didn’t matter because it was Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion (who was educated in Turkey) that had the power to share power with Nasser which meant keeping the Persians, the Iranians, out – or at least out of the Suez Canal, but let’s just say, he, or they, didn’t.
Let us remember a few basic facts. Hitler himself and his party were freely elected in a democracy by a totally democratic process. David Ben Gurion helped “find” Israel without any democratic vote where any Palestinian (read “Arab”) could vote. Afghanistan and Egypt were members of the U.N. (created to foster democracy), but even though they (like other nations) were not the slightest bit democratic were let in and were encouraged to stay in the U.N. America itself never voted to leave England, never voted for war – if those without land (meaning estate holders) had been allowed to vote, or women, or Indians, or people of color or indentured servants even, the composition of Congress would have been quite different – even with the secessionist, virtually absolute, control of the press.
The point is that every one in Afghanistan had their friends, their families, their lives and their memories – all important, all dear. If pictures are posted today of the past most all of the people look about the same; the clothing may be different, the uniforms may be different, but the faces show the same mix of happy, worry, or sad. Life goes on, and has gone on for a very long time without this “democracy” thing and in most cases, even in America, democracy is irrelevant to daily life except as an outworn (basically meaningless) political ideology.
The first Myth of Democracy says that An Election legitimizes power.
The simple truth is that an election doesn’t. “Being elected”, means nothing unless one knows who is (allowed to be) an elector, who is actually allowed to vote, who actually votes, who is allowed to even run and what information about the candidate or the issue is known. All this must be juxtaposed against the false choice paradox illustrated by the question, “Have you stopped beating your wife?”
The point is that a two-party system can (inherently) never be fair. Real life, like in nature, never squares off in contests of one against one. There are always multiple challengers, coming in succession or in profusion. Political multiplicity, like diversity, must be real to avoid the real rule by an elite.
The whole discourse about what constitutes (and how to run) a “free and fair” election is beyond the pale of most advocates of democracy. The simple (inconvenient) truth is that nobody knows how. Voter ID’s are necessary for an honest election, but can dissuade some honest voters. Public money must be available for the poor (to run), but it is unfair to silence the voice of the rich, every candidate is allowed by every democracy to lie, to conceal, to mislead, to confuse, to obfuscate, to exaggerate, to trivialize (and more) without any legal sanction. Voters (the electorate) is composed of the immature, the selfish, the self-centered, the criminally insane, the insane, the senile, the ignorant, the stupid, the uneducated, the unaware, the uncaring, the angry and the mob – not to mention the great army of the unwashed and the unreal (meaning voters who don’t and never did exist). This does not include the issue of armies of “hanging chads” and ballot box stuffing and simple computer programs designed to steal the vote.
The ideal democracy is composed of nothing more than a council of the wise, the interested, the altruistic who have learned from life of the perils of self-assertion, self-interest and of greed. They meet alone in private and peaceful council, perhaps upon a hill or by some small stream of flowing water or in a meadow if it is the spring.
No building ever surrounds them. They must meet the wind and cold, enjoy the sun and flowers, see the stars at night if their counsel lasts too long. They come not with I-pods, notebook computers, sketchpads, legal pads or other notes. They are not surrounded by well-paid staffs and staffers with lists and reminders of contributors and contributions and promises of money yet to come. There is no one there to remind them of the things to say that they themselves could not remember to say. The council members bring one thing, the clarity of an honest and open mind.
Creative thinking helps. Everything, every day is seen as new. Life experience is necessary, but the council is not just of the elders, seniority never holds sway. Discussion is cordial and shows self respect and always includes respect for the interests of others; especially of the infirm, the halt, the poor, the lame, the powerless, the poor and huddled masses yearning to breath free and to stay free after the wishes of the council have passed judgment and are done .
Decisions are made by consensus, never by a vote. There may be those that will never go along or get along or be happy or be sad when it’s time for sadness. Their opinions matter, but they are not given the veto right. Their voices are there to be remembered if the councils decision goes wrong. Things can always improve the next time. Perfection, truth, fairness, kindness and justice is probably the goal. Self-sacrifice is the watchword. The possession of personal wealth is the only bar to council membership (meaning inclusion).
We’ve come close to this (form of government) on this continent in our time (meaning within the past three hundred years). These traditions are real and remembered – in the heart as well as in the mind. The government that governs least governs best if it is wise. Any government that requires a murderous military to defend it is not worth defending. A standing army is the greatest impediment to freedom. The powers of search, of seizure and of the police must be thoroughly contained. The government should not be allowed to keep files on any citizen not an employee or a person convicted of a serious crime against the law.
So, the dialogue and the discussion (about government) does need to be redirected. New ideas and the old ideas need to be visited and revisited. We need governance, perhaps not government, that works. But VOTING is not the answer, DEMOCRACY (as we know it) is not the answer, nor is it even real. “Freedom of Speech”, sure – you’ve just seen it; but I would need the wealth of Mark Zuckerman to get my point across; and guess what, this message is not the message that he (and his handlers) wants to get across. Freedom of speech works only if you have the money.
Maybe I should just get back to posting, pictures of Korea or Afghanistan or of Carson City or perhaps of the Armstrong clan. I could post a few more letters. I could post pictures of my friends, my pets. I could finish this list of residence addresses that is mostly about my mother, but says a lot too, about me. More deaths and deliberations about more democracy in Egypt, near Egypt, or elsewhere? Count me out. My second point about democracy? I just made it; and you don’t need to vote.