What do you get when you take democracy for granted?

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What indeed?

Things are getting a bit desperate out there, In America I see that Donald Trump has picked up a few more tickets and is looking like winning the Republican nomination. Meanwhile here in Australia the government seem to be acting like a bunch of teenage boys (and sometimes girls) on their first  no-parents-allowed wanking trip. While there have been a couple of good things happen mostly it’s pants and you can now be thrown into prison for protesting about all the crap decisions the government keep making and if you happen to be a LBGQI school goer it’s been a no-love-from-the-government week as the ‘Safe Schools’ program has been paired back ‘for review’ even though it’s been found to be perfectly fine twice before.

Shameful.

Basically the Australian liberal government has been coming on all heavy about everything that doesn’t quite suit their rather conservative and righteously religious tastes.  Strange but ‘liberal’ means something entirely different where I come from.

Then there is China. Now I know that China isn’t a democracy and I know you shouldn’t believe everything you read in the newspapers (especially given that nobody is writing newspapers any more) but when I saw this piece on how Chinese citizens are now having their credit scores ranked on a game-show-esque wheel-of-good-credit app based on what they do on social media I wanted to scream out ‘enough already guys. Give us some privacy’.

The world has indeed gone mad. But that’s enough of the world, I want to focus on Australia for a minute.

Democracy is no longer looking like a fair and reasonable option. Indeed, I’ve said a couple of times this week that ‘at least in China you know that you can’t really challenge the government. Here in Australia they give us the vote but hand the power to a powerful few corporate interests’.

Or do they?

On democracy.

As tempting as it is to feel that democracy sucks and that Churchill was right when he said ‘”Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time” I believe that we do have a good system – especially now that crazy preference voting system for the Senate has been simplified. I don’t believe the system is broken. I believe that a democracy relies on the participation of its citizens, the ‘equal’ participation of its citizens and that’s probably where the problem lies.

On People.

We all tend to hope that other people will care and do stuff as we are just too busy. We hope that someone else will pick up that rubbish, will rescue that dog, will serve up the soup in the soup kitchen, will report the drug den down the street, will help the guy being beaten up, will donate the blood to treat the cancer patients.

I’m no better than anyone else in this regard. As I wrote that list above I was screwing up my face and thinking ‘yes, yes that’s been me before, I’ve just crossed my fingers and hoped that this stuff would go away so I didn’t have to try to fit it in.  You see we are all busy, we have jobs, houses, pets, kids, hobbies and more. We need down-time, mental-health days, holidays and time to chillax.

And I think that’s why we are where we are today.

People aren’t contributing to the political system, not participating equally. Everyone is feeling that it is just too hard and that if they stay quiet for long enough someone else will do it.

People also feel that ‘this won’t effect me’ or ‘there’s nothing I can do anyway so why bother’ before going about their business.

The Answer?

Nobody likes being told what to do, me included and goodness only knows politics is a messy, frustrating and sometimes boring game but if we don’t participate we find ourselves no longer living in a democracy.

There is an old saying that I love dearly mainly because I don’t need much sleep so I’m usually the one running amok:

‘If you ever find a weasel asleep, piss in its ear’

Which is a curious saying meaning this. Weasels are a cute little English animal but they are also known to be sly, evasive and a bit sneaky.  This lead to sneaky, sly people being known as weasels.  So, if you see one asleep (vulnerable) you should take the opportunity to piss on it.  Nice!

I think the government has been doing that to us and I don’t like it.

So are we going to wake up and stop this or are we content with being pissed on?

I’m ready to pull a few all-nighters that’s for sure.

 

 

 

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