At last, a chance for real democracy? Part 3
Modern technology now allows us the opportunity for a direct say in national and local issues and genuine majority rule. Politicians may even become redundant. Recent events show the way.
Recent examples of democracy in action
The Bank of America decided to charge its customers simply for allowing it to play with their money for its own profit. Hitherto, opposition to such actions would have been largely ineffectual because any customers in a position to move to another bank in protest would soon be met with a similar charge being copied by the new bank. However, one solitary customer notifying her discontent to her circle of friends, and asking them also to email a complaint to the bank, resulted in an avalanche of e-mails to the bank as the message rippled out at tidal wave speed from social network contact circle to contact circle. The Bank of America backed down.
When the White House is deluged with complaints about a particular proposal, such as the recent proposal for free birth control to be provided by the employer’s insurance, the White House backs down or seeks to create a compromise.
Social media and the Internet have been invaluable in bringing democracy to North African nations in the recent Arab Spring but also in amplifying the protests and demands of minorities in the West, such as radical Muslims and Gays. The majority can feel increasingly marginalized. Time to update our thinking.
A real democracy in future?
In the past bringing about political change has taken enormous effort over long periods of time by outstanding individuals, such as Mahatma Ghandi, Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King JR., who were prepared to risk imprisonment, injury and potential death through the courage of their convictions.
Nowadays, thanks to the Internet, millions of people in western democracies can protest against policies and corruption and attacks on social values without having to gather in large numbers in one place.
It is now feasible, via the Internet, for all major issues to be voted upon by the whole electorate in the way that democracy was first introduced in Ancient Greece. A secure voting system would be required but this is not outwith the wit of a willing administration.
Obtaining this will take some public pressure, via the Internet and social media, and by badgering politicians, because our representatives are more interested in power and gravy than in realizing the democratic principles to which they pay lip service. In the meantime, greater democracy can still be obtained because the People now have the means to make their voice heard and the means even to promote an alternative local representative to represent them rather than some distant and totally uncaring paymasters.
If representatives receive e-mailed protests from thousands of their constituents, they become aware that continued snout in the gravy train does not depend on campaign sponsors but the willingness of the electorate to continue to elect them.
If the White House receives millions of complaints about some proposal, the reed will bend in the popular wind.
Even if the legislature is irrevocably divided and stalemated, the People’s wishes can still be made plain directly to the respective representatives and the impasse broken.
In a real democracy, where every citizen can have a direct voice, representatives in their various guises – MPs, Congressmen, Senators, Deputies, Lobbyists, etc. - could become redundant, instead of them putting their constituents out of work.
No more politicians: now there’s a thought!
The ball is in the People’s court
If the electorate wishes it, a truer democracy in which the electorate has much greater control over its own concerns can be established by paying attention to what the Administration is planning and doing, by monitoring how our representatives are protecting our interests and by sending protests to the Administration and the local representatives and encouraging all like-minded friends and contacts to do the same. If electronic protest can be coordinated all the better but a simple call for action skipping from contact circle to contact circle will produce the same enormous result.
At the same time, pressure can be exerted for the People increasingly to have a direct say on national and local issues through referenda on major issues and subsequently on any issue of importance at all levels. Currently, the results of any referendum are not enforceable in either the US or the UK.
It is said that the People get the Government they deserve. It is time to ensure that we have the Government we want, a system representative of the majority’s wishes not our seduced, suborned and self-interested ‘representatives’. And perhaps then we shall finally be able to realize Abraham Lincoln’s heartfelt dream of “government of the People, by the People, for the People” by bringing it into being on this Earth.