Saturday, 11 October 2008

It is a democracy, dammit!

If you listen long enough you can hear the bleat of the political sore loser. Unable to accept the result of a past election they will scatter around terms such as oligarchy, plutocracy or even 'elected dictatorship' to decry the democracy they live in. Indeed they will do their level best to suggest it isn't a democracy at all.

I'll not deny that government can often appear by the wealthy and for the benefit of the few; but it is we the people who put them there. Admittedly some democratic systems are better than others. The 'first past the post' system of Britain has far more potential than any 'proportional' system for representation that cares more about it's constituency than the party to which they belong.

However I'm not arguing about which voting system is best. I'm arguing that we have a vote. The first vote of the U.S. House of Representatives to reject the recent financial bail-out plan is a great example of this. In opposition to an all-party leadership there were some who rejected the plan as the backdoor to socialism (God forbid!), but most rejected the bill becauseFight apathy graffiti there are elections around the corner; their electorate had told them exactly what they could do with it. I didn't agree with that initial result, but it shouldn't be sneered at - it is something to applaud.

The point is we don't just have a vote; we can let others know how we're going to use it. If there's no one worth voting for then campaign on the issue you believe in or run for office yourself. I'm not suggesting it's easy, it isn't; but before you're tempted to use the words oligarchy and plutocracy again, you ought to look up the word apathy.


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