Wednesday, October 20, 2010

On Democracy

I often find it hard to describe people my political leanings, especially since I have an interest in news and politics I realize that they are more complex than just naming a party or a wind that I associate myself with. I had a hard time adding my politics entry to my face book page as it seems too complex a question to assign a single word to.
The current so-called "perfect storm" in the US midterms, our first hung federal parliament for some time and the possibility that Victoria may go the same way in the state election has caused many professional politicians and commentators to rant about "unelected" and "unrepresentative" governments. I must say that I find the urge to strangle people on TV who use the phrase "the will of the people" as a supporting argument for personal political opinion X or Y; as if the perceived or implied will of the electorate is a form of evidence supporting these opinions. (Such as when Tony Abbot decries the govenment for being unelected, despite that fact the opposition were not elected either...)
What also disturbs me is this is a small version of the larger issue of history being edited via so called public opinion. It is becoming a well versed political tactic to insist an untruth as true and continue to do so in the face of any reasonable evidence. This is a simple mutation of the spin doctored answer, the old political tactic of reciting your parties talking points as answers to simple yes/no questions. The media's habit of parroting these answers creates a sort of public cognitive dissidence, quickly the public starts to echo back...
Now this has hit plague proportions in the US of late, the current round of mid term elections seems to have created a parallel reality of fact free political discourse. Not only rewrites of recent history, but of the laws and constitution of the country itself. While I can see trying to walk back a gaff or a candidate wanting to forget something stupid he or she has said in the past, how does one claim to be a strict "constitutionalist" and start just making up stuff about your country's founding document? Especially when the founders of the united states wrote a hell of a lot about their intentions in framing that document.
This article is a wonderful discussion of the founder's attempts to create a democracy free from any form of tyranny, and they saw many in the world at that time. Worth a read...