CHALLENGE TO DEMOCRACY? October 19, 2008Posted by wmmbb in US Politics.
The problems of representative democracy are not confined to Australia, or for that matter the United States.
It seems to me, possible that the current financial crisis is a product of the failure of governance, combined with a determined undermining of government, and that the problems are greatest where that process was magnified. Still I am not conversant with the topic generally, or particularly as it has taken shape in Euroland, but it seems to me it is a global phenomenon in which governments have been sidelined by the power of global capital, which includes rapid movement of investment capital.
As I have suggested, national myths are inevitable and good since they are forces for social integration, tested in times of crisis, but the tendency is strong for national myths to be sources of complacency. A liberal democracy that allows a political discussion among over 300 million people is no small achievement, but one spot where the rubber meets the road is with the electoral system, where despite the sources of innovation we witness, for example the Democratic Party Caucuses. Compulsory registration of voters is such an obvious thing to do.
How easy is it to be scornful of the myth of the Middle Kingdom? Yet it has superior rationality and reality over the notion of “the World Island”, despite two very long land borders, surrounded by sometimes frightening and strangely hostile outer world. The United States, it seems, in contradistinction to its founders, does not understand itself as part of a wider democratic world and history.
Obama now has the support of such papers as The New York Times, The Washington Post, The LA Times and The Chicago Tribune. The latter might be an example of favourite son support. My guess would be that these newspaper editorials are just following the crowd, especially since there is no way Obama will lose in California, New York or DC. I would not be surprised if the major dailies in Miami,Columbus, Richmond and Philly given the prevailing economic circumstances, also express support for Obama.
In my opinion, despite the closeness of some polls and the “Bradley effect”, McCain is in a very tough position. Voter suppression is definitely the go, the Republicans will have to go to the dark side, and it has got to work in Florida and Ohio. Otherwise, McCain has no traction and is losing ground. Palin was not vetted, Plumber Joe was not vetted, and neither has Candidate McCain. What a crock! His myth has no foundation in fact.
Obama will be assuming the presidency under the toughest conditions imaginable. There will be a surge of good will towards the US from the rest of the Planet, and one early test is how well he takes advantage of that good will.
The electoral system in play determines who wins, and often who has a chance to be represented, and yet issues of accountability, a related subject, bedevil democracies everywhere, no doubt in part of the assumed role of the mass media. In that regard, Italy comes to mind. And yet, in the context of the subprime mortgage problem and the financial crisis generally, it is worth reflecting that if property relations are understood as the foundation of the capitalist system, then as all Settlers societies knew intimately these relations are premised on the intervention of Government.
You know, John McCain is such a regular guy, albeit war hero, who in straight talking modality says to Letterman in relation to not turning up, “I screwed up, Dave”. No further questions, right? Now he is a such a nice man, and all he gets from you know who – those LIBERALS – is cynicism, cynicism, cynicism. And dear John has not even unleashed the dogs of war, or they remain “crouched for employment”. Here is an example of what I mean:
This surely is the new “Shock Doctrine“.
Judith mentioned Dr Ben Carson in comments. Could this be him?