Democracy For Sale

April 20, 2013


Democracy is such a pain in the neck concept. I have been trying to figure it out for the past 44 years and I can’t say that I have made much progress. Recently, I have been wondering if there is such a thing as democracy, because if there is, perhaps it is not an American thing.

The thing that confuses me the most is voting. I have a right to vote and every two years I religiously show up at the high school and vote. And this is where my confusion begins. On Tuesday I vote for some poor slob, and on Wednesday the gun lobby, or the bank lobby, or the insurance lobby, or the pharmaceutical lobby, or some other corrupting lobby buys my congressman or senator and I am left without anyone watching out for my interests.
Of course in a few years my congressman or senator leaves his poor house in my neighborhood and moves into a mansion in some exclusive neighborhood. He has to move up in the world, after all lobbyists pay big bucks for small favors. I don’t think any congressman or senator started out poor and died poor. From the day they win the office to the day they leave, their coffers swell and swell and swell onto infinity or death. Greed is the name of their game. Perhaps term limits should be the rule, and then we can see how much they love the poor voters.

The other thing that confuses me about the democratic system of government is the level of corruption at every level of government. It’s as if these people – these elected officials – seek public office to swindle the people who voted for them. Plain and simple, they fill their pockets with our money. They want power just to steal. The fact that some of them get caught is inconsequential because first their pockets are filled, and second the majority of them run free.

Another thing that really, really confuses me is congress. What is the purpose of congress? They get nothing done! They are owned by lobbyists. They are disconnected from the population – the people who voted for them. They have no clue about poverty and the minimum wage; about education and public schools (their kids go to private schools); about a family without health insurance; about a person living on social security; about struggling to pay the mortgage or losing your home. The people in congress are so disconnected from reality, one wonders if they live in the same America as the rest of us.

Now here is the crux of the matter. We are exporting democracy to some very unlikely places around the globe. Whether it is the Middle East or Latin America, the African Continent or Chine and Russia – we want them all to be like us, a democratic empire. But all those places already have power hungry, money hungry, corrupt regimes and democratic leaders like our congressmen, so why waste our time and money. They are already like us – we taught them well. Iraq is our best example of a democratic state. We created them in our own image. So we want the world to be democratic which would mean world wide corruption, lobbyists for every corner shop, a disconnected congress or parliament, voters with no power, and votes being the path to power and corruption, rags to riches, vice and scandal.

Perhaps I am misinterpreting the term democracy as it is practiced in America today. I hope I am. Because if I’m not, then I’ll be terribly ashamed of my president, congress, the elected officials, and all the people who are looking after my social security, my health benefits, my grand children’s environment, food prices and food chemicals, drug prices, etc. etc. etc. Yes, ashamed of them all and disillusioned by their definition of the word democracy.

Perhaps I should revisit the concept of democracy in another 44 years. Things do change!

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