Reclaim Democracy

Posted on 18 December 2019

by Fibonacci Blue cc-by-2.0.

Dear young people who care, plus:

In the scheme of things democracy is a very new invention.

I had a grandparent who was born in 1899. He could potentially have had a grandparent who was born in 1799. And that grandparent could have had a parent who was present for the writing and signing of the US Constitution. That is only three people distant. You may be four people distant, but that still isn’t all that distant in human history.

Other people of other nationalities have had democracies for a much longer time, such as the people of Iceland, the Haudenosaunee, and of course the Greeks. Democracy is still evolving. It did not descend from the skies fully formed. We created it and we can change it. I have ideas about how this can be done. I hope you do too.

Sadly, of late our democracies have been seriously eroded. Civilisation has developed as far as it has due to human cooperation. That cooperation can and has been twisted by people who wish to control. If we wish to regain a sense of security, freedom, independence, and contentment, then we will need to regain a sense of connection with one another. With that connection we have to find the will to collectively pull ourselves out of our current climate and social emergencies.

To reclaim democracy we must start by readjusting our conception of it.

Western democracies are still living in the shadow of aristocracy. In our stories we are still idolising the aristocratic hero who is the sole hope for his people. Even when he begins as a farm boy, he is “special” and therefore destined for greatness, and a position of executive power. When we experience such stories, we like to imagine ourselves as this special person. The fact of the matter is, if it isn’t you already, it will never be you. People are always born into their position in this system.

Stop thinking of democracy as a more enlightened form of European hierarchies! We are not living in a true democracy if we are simply showing our consent to be ruled by a ruling class. The vote should make it possible for anyone who has the best interests of their country to attain a decision making position in our legislative system. These positions must not be sold to the highest bidder who can afford to manipulate the media.

Article 21 of the United Nation’s 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that “The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government”. If the will of the people is the source of democratic authority, then we are in fact the government. We govern ourselves. The people who we install in our legislatures are our public servants meant to represent our interests on a daily basis, so that we can get on with contributing to our society in other ways.

We should not see the legislative branch of our public service as “the government”. We should not see our presidents and prime ministers as the highest power of the land. That is the thinking of aristocrats and oligarchs. They are all public servants. You are the boss, we are the boss! We vote these people in and we vote them out. We do the work, we pay the taxes, and they are our employees. Nothing more, nothing less. If this is not the case, we are not living in a democracy and need to take action.

I have one suggestion, which if we cooperate to press the point, will make a big difference.

Go to rallies. Go to party conventions. Turn up anywhere politicians are and ask this question: “Will you tax the rich?

This requires a simple one-word answer: YES! If politicians do not say “yes” unequivocally, they aren’t working for you. They are either working for their own individual financial interests or the interests of other wealthy people, but certainly not you.

Most of you reading this are not the rich. Taxing the rich is unlikely to ever harm you. Taxing the rich means your public service has extra money to better provide services such as health care, education, disaster relief, and more. Think of all the things you could insist that money is spent on to better your life and the lives of your neighbors!

Simply turning up at political events with signs that say TAX THE RICH will cause those people abusing your goodwill to shake in their boots. Do this relentlessly. Making this happen will show who exactly is in power. Then we have a lot of hardwork to remake our democracy so that it is fairer, kinder, and leads to a more peaceful future. And we can do this!

In peace and kindness,


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