Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Watching Democracy Fail in Greece

So, the title of this posting might be a little misleading, but what we are watching unfold in Greece, the birth place of democracy, is both amazing and sad.

The people of Greece are faced with a true rock and a hard place dilemma, choosing between challenging cuts and the uncertainly that will come with a likely default on their sovereign debt. The amazing thing is that their prime minister, George Papandreou is poised to give the people a true democratic say in their future. I find it admirable to see democracy at work. To be honest, with a BA in political science I find this fascinating, exciting and I find myself just a little jealous. Jealous because the people of the United States have long since lost their hand on the tiller. The cold, scientific, calculating side of my mind that holds a BS in computer science finds that prospect to be terrifying, because the Greek people are likely to make the "wrong" decision. And by wrong decision, I mean choosing not to accept the austerity measures which will mean true hardships for the common man, but perhaps all classes of Greeks on a more equal basis. I am not going to get in to the fine grained details, because I know that all across the EU and the rest of the world, most people have tougher and perhaps lower or different standards of living compared to Greek entitlements. But I also know that everything is relative, sauce for the goose is not necessarily sauce for the gander.

The scientific side of my mind compels me to ask why the people of Greece would make the "wrong" choice. I find it very simple to understand why Greeks are making the choices they are making. They are not failing at democracy. Democracy has failed them, and failed them miserably, in much the same way as it has failed people all around the western world. Their elected leaders stopped listening to them a long time ago and so have ours. So as my liberal arts side battles my logical, Vulcan side, I find myself, giving in to the "wrong" decision.

Make no mistake, I am not a Democrat, I never have been. I've always leaned to the right. The contrary son at the Passover Seder who forged his own path of mostly right leaning, but highly pragmatic views. I have voted for Democrats like Jim Moran (D VA-8) and Jim Webb (D VA), but today I can't bring myself to vote them for a littany of reasons. I would urge everyone who reads this posting to consider, regardless of your political leanings to vote against every single incumbent later this month and next year, because there are few if any sitting politicians who are listening to the people they represent. I feel that they are all too busy trying to get reelected rather than fulfilling their responsibilities to their constituencies. It is unfortunate the oath of office for the President, Senate and House of Representatives says nothing about doing the will the of the people they were elected by. Perhaps it should. So, I urge you to put your hand back on the tiller, tell the temporary residents of Washington that they should represent the voters not the donors. Remind the future generations of Washington politicians that true power derives from a mandate from the masses, not the checkbook of special interest.


Mike W. said...

Excellent post!. As my political views are middle of the road. I am personally watching this unfold through the eyes of the stock market about Greece, and I totally agree any incumbent should NOT be voted for as none of these politicians can seem to get a handle on anything in this country/economy. As you said politicians at this time of year are worried about being reelected and that's it, when it should be about the people of this country they work for us. They have truly lost their way. None the less great post I enjoy reading what you have to say.

Dead End said...

So much for a touch of democracy in Greece, the PM scrapped the idea of a referendum and business as usual continues.