Churchill once said “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the other kinds.” A fair assessment. I’ll take it. Actually, I would like to see some democracy, even with all it’s flaws and foibles, in action.
Right now, the UK has a Prime Minister appointed by 200 other MPs. He follows Liz Truss, who was selected by 80,000 votes of the Tory Party membership. Fun Fact, the UK has roughly 50 million registered voters, and with a mandate of only .16% of the voting population, Liz Truss has the power to crash the economy and devalue the pound. Even BoJo’s government, train wreck that it was, had 43% of voter turnout. (Although that only amounts to 30% of registered voters).
The public is responsible for BoJo, either by voting Tory or not voting at all. He’s the downside of democracy. But with Liz Truss and now Rishi Sunak, we have fewer and fewer people choosing the country’s leader. Our government can no longer lay claim to the label ‘Democracy’. It’s more an amalgam of Aristocracy and Oligarchy; a small group of people considered ‘Elite’ either by lineage, net worth or both, choosing the nominal leader. Although I’m not sure you can call someone a leader when they’re chosen because they will do what they’re told.
So there are increasing calls for a General election in the UK. It’s not even about Rishi Sunak, who I think is one of the more competent MPs, although that’s not a high bar to clear these days. It’s a case of people asking “Are a we a Democracy or not?”
With Queen Elizabeth II gone, I’ve no desire to return to a Monarchy. Charles III might be a perfectly nice king, but the genetic lottery could just as easily give us a Charles I or a George III. The stability of government depending on the mental stability of one person is not ideal. So Monarchy’s out.
Theocracy? Dear God, No.
Democracy is being tested in a different way in the US right now. People are voting in the Mid-Term Elections. This Election may allow us to measure the level of Democracy in the US. There’s so many factors at play.
Traditionally, the Mid Terms are a referendum on the current ruling party, and it usually doesn’t go well for them. People always complain about whoever’s in charge, and the Mid Terms can be a good check on a party that’s trying to take it’s power too far. But there’s a lot more to it this year.
I think the Issues favourite the Democrats. The Major Issue must be Abortion Rights, because it’s about so much more than Abortion rights. The Republicans achieved their long cherished goal of overturning Roe V Wade and ending women’s bodily autonomy; bad enough in and of itself. The laws banning abortion in various states are brutally unforgiving, with no exceptions made for rape, incest, or life of the mother. These laws eliminate any consideration for the physical or mental health of women. Meanwhile, the Republican loathing for the helping anyone in need means that once the baby is born, they don’t care anymore. There’s no mandated parental leave, no real help for struggling families, and affordable daycare is practically an oxymoron. Women, even those with Pro-life views, are angry and afraid. Other marginalized groups are terrifies about what’s next. If they can take away a right with 50 years precedent, what’s next? Trans rights? Gay Marriage? Civil rights? Universal Suffrage?
That last is an interesting question. The Republicans have been chipping away at voting rights for years now, and all through perfectly legal if rather underhanded procedures. Gerrymandering, obviously. Purging the voter rolls. Closing polling stations. Limiting early voting or postal voting. Is it still Universal Suffrage if you have the theoretical right to vote, but are physically prevented from doing so?
So these midterms will be a clash of the titans; people’s recently roused fear and anger versus the republicans slow and steady erosion of both the electoral process and peoples faith in the security of the elections. Republicans are already claiming that the election is tainted unless they win. It will take a fairly crushing defeat to overcome how tilted the playing field has become. And even if they lose, will there be another insurrection?
However, there is still hope for democracy and for the world. Check out Brazil! The South American Trump wannabe Jair Bolsonaro was defeated by Left wing candidate Lula Da Silva. As yet, no one has heard from Bolsonaro, leaving people wondering if he will contest the results. He has spent the last few months saying that the Brazilian Election process was vulnerable to fraud. It’s become a right-wing refrain. Funny how they spend so much time talking about the lack of election security while doing nothing to make them more secure. It’s as if they profit more from the uncertainty.
Still, let’s take hope fro the initial results, and from the fact that voter turnout was high, nearly 80%. The only real counter to government corruption is an engaged electorate, keeping an eye on the buggers. The only power the people have voting. We have to use it or lose it, simple as that.
Political trends are a pendulum, swinging right and left. We’ve been swinging to the right for a long time now. I hope, perhaps, we are starting a natural swing back to the left. I’m worried that swinging further to the right will break the clock entirely.