There I said it. Vote early, vote often. Make Canberra great again. Exercise your democratic right. Keep the bastards honest.
Slogans. Politicians are pretty good with slogans. We could have a slogan led recovery if only saying something made it happen. A bit like believing in magic, you know the bit about being able to mumble some arcane phrase or recite some incoherent collection of bizarre utterances or simply making a wish. I wish the world was a better place.
Of course slogans are important. The give you something to cling to in your hour of desperate need. Hillary really is a crook, or turn back the boats, or it’s time. It’s time? Well that’s different mainly because it looks like a slogan, sounds a bit like one too but unlike the so many Trumpisms it actually invites you to think a little. It’s time doesn’t simply offer you confirmation bias, rather you are led a little to think about the world we share. Is it time for a change?
But on the day of a local election I am really despairing of democracy in general. Not the principle, which I think might still be the best thing going but rather the way the ideal has been subverted by money and power. You could say we have the best damn democracies money can buy, and that friends would be pretty close to how I feel.
Our political system has become self serving, probably all political systems ultimately do. Some call it corruption which is fair enough after all the modern democracy is supposed to be a tool for improving the lives of all constituents, not just the privileged few who can buy the political favours they deserve. So our politicians have become the servants of the ruling elite currying favour with this mob or that one and lining their own pockets while they do. I mean look at the perks and payola they collect as politicians, all the while talking about the need for austerity and balancing budgets.
The losers are us. We lose the best tool we have to build a progressive, inclusive egalitarian world which to be Machiavellian, is probably the end game. For when democracies start collapsing totalitarianism will step up to the plate. In many places it is already half way there.
The core of the problem remains economic equality. Pretty much every other problem we have, including religion, would cease to be a burning crusade in peoples’ lives if we didn’t have such a huge divide between the rich and the rest. All the logical analysis that says that rich just get lucky or work hard or are smarter or something is demonstrably at odds with the unmistakable human sense that the “system” is rigged. This in turn invites more selfish behaviour which leads to less desirable politics which leads to broken democracies which leads to authoritarian regimes.
The Donald defines the extent of how broken things are getting but he’s no Robinson Cruscoe. He just happens to be the most obvious example. I wish it were not so.