If Elections could change things they would have been abolished
This line, with various wordings, is often heard in pubs and frequently figures in washroom graffiti, peaking at election time. It may be attributed to cynics but that does not certify it false. The Electoral College of the US of America, which makes the election of Donald Trump difficult to understand for non Americans, arguably has been specifically engineered and instituted to prevent elections from affecting substantive change.
Things are not better in Canada. There are systems built and operating to drain the potency from elections by various means, all functioning like eunuchs guarding harems. These change-preventing systems are skillfully woven into our social fabric and are protected and preserved by those who benefit from them. Silently but persistently they persuade us to adorn, or at least endure these anomalies, they condition us to see them as features of our social landscape, as being “in the nature of things”. They are made “conventional wisdom” and enjoy the protection “wisdom” provides. These systems combine with overt oppression, wherever it occurs, to make us stick with the existing and fearful of change that would make us better. We could no more imagine a world without these systems than Italians could imagine a world without opera.
Right now, we are in election mode, for in about three weeks we “will be granted a ballot” to elect Local Governments and soon thereafter we will endure another ballot, albeit of the “Referendum” species. The latter would be to select from a menu skillfully crafted by politicians, a “system” for electing them, the politicians, so as to “govern” us the electors. Last year we suffered such a ballot specific to Salt Spring –- we are nowhere near healing from it as yet.
Next year we will have a big election nationwide, which ostensibly would afford us a chance to call to account Justin Trudeau, the chap who had solemnly declared that he would abolish the electoral system mow in force if we do as much as elect him –- We did but he didn’t ! Instead, he evoked “gratitude” for the election system that made him “Rt. Hon. PM” and he went through a liturgy exulting the “system” for its merit that even he, Trudeau the Son, had missed pre-electorally. Thus belatedly enlightened and reborn a “First Past the Post believer”, Trudeau vowed to protect and preserve the electoral system that he belatedly recognized is so good so as to bless the nation with superb governance by Himself. Amen!
Now, with so strong an election-storm as we are in, one would think we are an over-democratized nation. Well, actually we are democratized less than we think we are, less than we deserve, and “over-governed” more than is good for us. Which is a pity really.
Because as now done elections do not perform close to our expectations, the whole political system suffers accordingly. This alienates people, causing Governance to lose “followers”, so to speak, including citizens who would keep it evolving and occasionally leaping forward to keep in sync with advances in civilization.
Given being where we are at, must we resign to living with politicians “granting us ballots”, that are hollow except for empowering them to demand we obey them because they ostensibly personify the Vox Populi? Are we ever to take matters into our own hands and govern our society as we know best, like free people are supposed to do? The answer is simple, and it has been known since before Pericles spoke the Epitaph – the antidote is Democracy” and it is only it that may take us from where we lag to where we are capable of reaching.
We need an Ideas Bank to do that. That is what we have to get if we are to catch up with the “possible”, that which we are now denied. We need institute a permanent Ideas Bank, a re-incarnation of the Agora of Athens, welcoming all the ideas citizen conceive and expose them to society freely, by right, not by licence. There they will be pondered, evaluated, disposed of, accepted, become stepping stones on the route to the future. Though the thrashing process new ideas will take root in the minds of the people. The result will be the best of what society can produce at any point in time. If the creative minds of the society have a chance, the result will be the best possible at any particular time.
Democracy is not voting in the “lesser evil” from among a group of power aspirants. After we achieve Democracy, elections would be held for “managers”, for the “mechanics” who will build the ideas the society produces into the reality society deserves. This is vastly different from subjecting the society to the will of “power– seeking politicians, who are what we often get.