The term “Democracy” has been preached as a form of Government “Of the people, For the people and By the people.” If Democracy truly were to be as described above, namely as a civilian democracy, then why would such an ideal system not rescue mankind from the ills of unemployment, poverty, starvation, etc. Why has there been a situation of uncontrolled corruption (legal and illegal)? Why do political parties just change their roles in every election and the suffering of the masses keep rising in spite of the election of a candidate of their choice? Do political parties truly act as elected representatives of the people who vote for them? How do these supposed servants of local people become their arrogant masters? What are the loopholes in the current democratic system that makes it a government of politicians who have no care for the people, but are primarily serve their own interests? What reforms are needed to have a meaningful Democratic system, namely Civilian Democracy, and put an end once and for all to the current form of Political Democracy – A Foolocracy? These questions take on urgency as there seems to be a repeat telecast of frenzied talk about Chemical Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs) in Syria and decision to invade Syria without waiting for UN inspectors to reveal the result of their investigation of use of chemical weapons on Syrian civilians .
Brief History of Modern Democracy
Democracy is a form of government in which the people freely elect their representatives to govern them. From its Greek roots, Democracy is made of “Demos’ meaning People and “Cracy’ meaning government .
Democracy was first introduced over 2,500 years ago in the ancient Indian state of Vaishali, which was situated in East India in the present state of Bihar . It was there that the Licchavi republic framed the first written constitution. Under the Licchavii system, only the elite, not the people in general, could exercise and enjoy adult franchise. The representatives of the people were known as Licchaviis, and they formed an executive body known as Mahalicchaviis through elections. The Mahalicchaviis controlled the power in Vaishali that had previously been controlled by the monarchy .
The present form of democracy originated in the 5th century BC in Greek city-states, notably Athens. In Athens, Democratic citizenship was granted to an elite class of men, but it excluded slaves and women from participation in its democratic process . In virtually all democratic governments throughout ancient and modern history, democratic citizenship has been extended to an elite class only until full enfranchisement was won for all adult citizens in most modern democracies through the suffrage movements of the 19th and 20th centuries .
How is Today’s Political Democracy a Foolocracy?
The process of lobbying in US Democracy has become a tool of public exploitation through the practical requirement that candidates for public office raise money to finance their political campaigns. It is one of the Weapons of Mass Exploitation (WME). In 1971, the US congress passed FECA (Federal Election Campaign Act) which provided disclosure requirements for campaign finances for candidates running for the Senate, House, President and Vice President . The FEC (Federal Election Commission) was created to enforce regulations in public financing of elections. Under FECA, corporations, unions and individuals could contribute unlimited “nonfederal money” – also known as “soft money” – to political parties for activities intended to influence state or local elections. This transformed civilian Democracy into a Corporatocracy . Wealthy corporations started to influence elections and fool the masses through their control over mass media and communications.
They got a president like Ronald Reagan elected based on his Hollywood image; in return, Reagan then enacted tax cuts for the wealthy which resulted in chronic budget deficits in the US since the 1980s . Corporations have also made use of loopholes within the democratic system to deceive Americans that globalization through free trade would improve the prosperity of all Americans, although that process has, in fact , resulted not just in the shipping of high paying jobs offshore but a National security threat . With the influence of money in Politics, corporations have enabled “democratically” elected governments to use their own Weapons of Mass Exploitation (WMEs) against the same masses who elected them into power .
Democracy is defined as government of the people, for the people and by the people. But, in fact, it is the rule of the majority. Hence democracy means mobocracy when the government under a democratic guise is guided by mob psychology. The majority of people can often be manipulated. The wise are always in a minority. Thus finally democracy can amount to nothing but a “foolocracy.” In such a system, the government of the people, by the people, and for the people would mean government of fools, by fools, and for fools .
Reforms Towards a Meaningful Democracy
Democracy may be one of the best of all the existing “cracies,” yet it is still defective and needs reforms. In an interview with India Today on 3 August 1978, the Indian Scholar Mr. P.R. Sarkar said that Democracy is only successful if at least 51% of the voters have morality, literacy and socioeconomic and political consciousness; otherwise, it is instrument to befool the public .
Here are a few practical reforms that would help transform the current state of Political Democracy in US from a Foolocracy to a meaningful democracy.
It should be incumbent on every elected congressman and senator to take a vote from their electorate on a wide range of issues after their election, such as:
- Whether or not US should wage war and attack other countries, for the sake of keeping the economy going by using more armaments and thereby keeping people employed in defense work companies like Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Raytheon, etc.
- How to have equity healthcare delivery system, and not let the private medical insurance charge as they please
- How to rescue the rural regions from chronic poverty
- How to make it possible for everyone to get university education without being laden with horrific debts.
They should then honor their electorate’s decision on issues when voting on these issues.
The Decentralized Role of FEC
It is very essential for FEC to have a local body like an “electoral commission” to help citizens make an informed decision . Such electoral colleges should be funded with local tax-payers money in order to hold free and fair local elections. Additionally, having a decentralized role would ensure that these electoral colleges are able to provide information on local issues as a decentralized body could do much better job using local resources and would help elect candidates who would work in best interest of local residents who would elect them into power. A civilian democracy can work successfully on a national level only when it can work at grass-root level.
The candidates contesting elections should submit their political agenda along with a timeline to the electoral commission. That agenda should be in black and white . It would be the duty of the electoral commission to have unbiased moderators to moderate debates of contesting candidates. The role of FEC and its electoral commissions should not end post elections, but they should also track the progress of elected officials at the local and national level. If the elected officials show no progress in implementing the agenda submitted to the FEC during first year of their tenure, their elections should be annulled and other contesting candidate should be offered the opportunity to implement his/her agenda. Additionally, the candidate who shows no progress should be tried in local court and should be liable for wastage of tax payers’ money.
The above reforms would help transform this current state of US Political Democracy from a “Foolocracy” into a meaningful civilian democracy. Such a democracy would eliminate political corruption at both local and national level. It would establish a true economic democracy along with vibrant political democracy. Let me conclude that such reforms towards a meaningful democracy would help restore control of US democracy from 1% elite (who have so far cunningly controlled the entire election process from behind the curtain) into the hands of the masses that rightly deserve this control as per the definition of true democracy. This would solve the 99:1 Occupy Wall Street issue and restore prosperity along with dignity back into the hands of the 99% Americans who have largely been exploited and ignored in spite of their courageous “Occupy Wall Street’ movement against corporate greed and crony Capitalism .
4. Sarkar P.R., 1959. PROUT in a Nutshell, Ananda Marga Publication
9. Apek Mulay and Dhanjoo Ghista, 2013, Globalization of Semiconductor Manufacturing Industry From Deception to Reformation Towards Recovering US Macro-Micro Economic Losses , Electronics.ca Research Network (June 24)