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Small Dreams: The Decline Of Democracy

2012 U. S. presidential candidates
Mitt Romney and Barrack Obama
As the world watches the United States spend its way through another presidential election campaign, I look at what is being offered for so much expense and scratch my head.
Billions are being spent in a war of words between a Democrat and a Republican, a barrage of rhetoric that is so meaningless that it is little more than adolescent schoolyard bickering.

This isn’t leadership. There is no higher morality or vision being offered, no quiet dignity and sense of connection to the people. It is politics at it most cynical, policies made on the fly in response to polls and the opponent’s mistakes and weaknesses.

Canadian Prime Minister
Stephen Harper
It is not peculiar to the United States.
Canada hasn’t produced a true leader in decades or maybe even longer. The current crop of political hacks is bereft of new ideas and little more than different faces in the same tired suits and ideas of the guys that came and went before them. It is a sad commentary that the best one can say about our current Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, is that he is merely a little more competent than most. There is no inspiration or vision, just a narrow-minded management of the day-to-day activities of government as if the country was not much more than a large accounting firm.
Germany’s Angela Merkel, Italy’s former
PM Belusconi and France’s former
President Sarkozy
In recent years, Europe hasn’t offered up much in the way of leadership either. Whether it was Italy’s over-sexed clown Berlusconi, France’s Sarkozy or the crowd of inept and faceless politicians that contributed to sink Greece, Europe has elevated mediocre political leadership to an art form. Even the hapless Angela Merkel of Germany has floundered around trying to buy Europe out of a debt crisis not of Germany’s making and without much hope of success. She just doesn’t really know what else to do.
In the end, none of them really know what to do so they spend more money; money we don’t have and can’t afford. 
There is no dignity, no vision and no ability to inspire and unite a nation. It is all about polls, photo ops and the next election. More strategic planning goes into organizing a G-20 meeting than most politicians put into planning the governing of their countries.
South Africa’s Nelson Mandela,
an inspiring and uniting leader
with great integrity and quiet dignity
There are no Nelson Mandelas or Mahatma Ghandis leading our nations now, only those who thirst for power for its own sake. They are aided by those who lack the ability to obtain that power for themselves and so content themselves with being a part of the great person’s entourage and war room.  They flutter around the politicians like moths around a porch light and contribute even less. There is no sense of common purpose to unite a people and lead them forward. There is only more of the same senseless dithering and pandering that has become the mainstream of politics in modern democracies.
Is all of this working? Are our democracies becoming stronger and more successful? I would suggest it is not working and that most democratic nations are floundering as a result of a lack true leadership.  
Our nations are divided and the people polarized, angry and frustrated. We are overwhelmed by a level of global debt that is staggering and our infrastructures continue to crumble as politicians dither, squandering money on failed but trendy ideas like wind farms and solar energy companies.  They talk about fiscal responsiblity while throwing more money at special interest and election campaigns. They raise taxes only to squander the additional money on corrupt ideas, poor fiscal management and outright incompetence.
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
President of Iran
The world is less safe today than it was twenty years ago and our political leadership has failed to understand why or how to address the threats.  Democratic governments are inconsistent. They intervene in Libya but stand back and watch the slaughter in Syria. Our leadership is so poor it is unable to effectively address the threat of terrorism and so impose oppressive security measures on their own citizens while failing to deal with the root causes of terrorism at its source.

Our democracies have been so poorly led, that it has undermined whatever moral authority they once held in the world and our enemies no longer fear or respect us. Today, our democracies are seen as weak, confused and self-indulgent by those who would do us harm.

For its part, the United Nations has been overrun by repressive regimes to a point of stasis and the leaders of our democracies stand back unable to do anything beyond talk and watch it happen.
Our governments violate our constitutions and break our laws and the greatest threat to our freedom comes from the lack of moral integrity that fuels the political leadership today.  Where once we were led by those who tried to do what was right, we are now led by those who lead based on what is politically expedient regardless of the legality, the morality or the economics of those decisions.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder
In the United States, the Attorney General the nation’s chief protector of law, is found in contempt of Congress. In Canada, it is the Prime Minister and his government that are found in contempt of Parliament.

The current Canadian government is in court defending itself from allegations of election fraud while they’re point man on ethics is himself under investigation for possible violation of the elections act. A previous Liberal government just flat out stole more than $1 million from taxpayers and handed it out in brown paper bags to its supporters in Quebec and a Liberal senator was convicted of corruption in 2011 and sent to prison.

In every major democracy in the world, politicians have been charged with and convicted of corruption or some other illegal betrayal of the people’s trust. It is not the left or the right that lack the moral authority to lead with integrity, it is parties on all sides that have violated the oath of office and the laws and constitutions they were sworn to protect.

These are not small issues. When the political leadership is in contempt of the very institutions they lead and are sworn to uphold, it is an indication of a moral vacuum at the heart of our government institutions. When the people take sides to support those who lie to them or steal from them, it underscores that adherence to blind ideology has replaced morality, integrity and even common sense. Together, they are a sign of the erosion of the principles and values upon which all democracies were founded
If a Prime Minister or a President will not defend the constitution and laws of their own nations, who will? If the people of a nation will not stand up and demand their leaders, regardless of political affiliation, uphold the law rather than pervert it for their own purposes, who will?
We are not being defeated by Islamic extremist countries, terrorist groups and other nations that hate us, we are being defeated by politicians that lack the focus of those who threaten our security and our way of life; politicians who place obtaining power far above using that power for the greater good. Our enemies have a strong sense of purpose and are focused. Our governments are unfocused and bloated bureaucracies led by politicians who place obtaining and holding on to power ahead of using that power for the greater benefit of their nations.

We are nations thirsting for inspired leadership. Where once our nations were led by people who dared to dream big dreams, we are now led by politicians who lack the courage and the ability to dream at all.

We perpetuate the erosion of our democracies by supporting those who bring that cynicism and lack of leadership to governing our nations. We enable those politicians who lack the morality and the sense of purpose to lead effectively by allowing them to buy us with borrowed money and with lies and half-truths. 
We are willfully blind and it is that blindness that will ultimately be our undoing. We are, ‘we the people’. It falls to us to decide whether we will continue to participate in the decline of democracy by giving our support to political leaders who betray the very principles upon which our nations were founded or whether we will take off the blinders of ideology, unite as one people and demand something better.
RELATED
Violating The Oath Of Office
What Ever Happened To Integrity?
© 2012 Maggie’s Bear
all rights reserved
The content of this article is the sole property of Maggie’s Bear but a link to it may be shared by those who think it may be of interest to others

  • Anonymous

    it is difficult to inspire a nation of dullards whose education has pointed them to a depenedency on government and a dislike for achievement.

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16123459288721211812 Bear

      I don’t fully disagree with your statement although I don’t believe this country is nothing but dullards nor am I so arrogant as to believe that I am smarter than everyone else.

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16123459288721211812 Bear

      I commend PM Harper for finally getting legislation through to end the Wheat Board. As you point out, it was long overdue but that doesn’t mean that he has vision. Vision unites a people to common purpose, it brings people together so that they can move forward together. What Stephen Harper did by ending the Wheat Board monopoly was a management decision that should have been taken years ago. You will also note, that he did not disband the Wheat Board but will, in fact, continue to provide funding to it for another five years. How does a politician reconcile continuing to give taxpayer money to an organization he condemns. That too is merely politics and not vision.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16688681743093469863 Dance…dance to the radio

    Bear,
    First off, we need to leave the UN and start the United Democracies.
    Are you a democracy?
    Okay, you’re in.
    Are you a communist dictatorship or a repressive theocracy?
    Bugger off, then.
    And no soup for you, either.
    No aid. No wheat. Nothing.

    You underestimate Harper.
    And the enemies he faces in the media and the bureaucracy and the courts.
    He’s the best Prime Minister I have ever seen and you call him an accountant.
    I grew up thinking it would be nice to be the Prime Minister.
    As I got older I started realizing what a pain in the ass that would be.
    He’s quiet and there’s nothing wrong with that.
    Because he’s out to undo what Trudeau did.
    And he’s gonna do it.

    As for Europe, I could have taken British citizenship based on my mother being born there.
    But the England I see today is not the England that gave us the Who and the Stones and the Beatles.
    Crikey, it’s not even the England that gave us the Stone Roses and Blur and Oasis.
    Do you think a Monty Python’s Flying Circus could come out of England today?
    Sure, we’ve got Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant and Karl Pilkington on the podcast.
    But when you entertain hacks like George Monbiot, you’re in trouble mate.
    The only Englishman that I truly respect these days is Nigel Farage.

    France is and always has been f###ing France.
    And Germany needs to grow back it’s balls and start paying for it’s own defense.

    And the bottom line is that Romney’s gonna have a Reagan moment sooner or later.
    Obama is Carter again squared.
    And he really needs to go.
    It’s so hard for a Republican to win an election when the Democrats are giving millions of people free money.
    All the people in the States who have money are sitting on it because the threat of another four years of Obama is really screwing up their forecasting.
    A Republican in office would change that.

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16123459288721211812 Bear

      I agree with you about the United Nations. It is an organization long past its shelf-life and it’s high time that the democracies in the world walked and set up their own international alliance organization.

      I disagree with you that Harper is the best prime minister we’ve ever had, he is merely more competent than the current alternatives. The things that Stephen Harper used to stand for, wrote and spoke about before beoming leader leader of the CPC are not the things he does today. That makes him no different than a whole lot of other politicians who trade principle for expediency.

      I voted for him but that doesn’t mean I won’t or shouldn’t be critical of him. I think too many people fail to hold the people they support to a higher standard and that is part of why democracies are failing. My mother was highly critical of me and held me to a higher standard than others but it was because she wanted me to be the best I could be. I do the same of those I support because I want the same thing.

      If all politicians are simply going to be mirror images of each other, what’s the point? It won’t matter who you vote for and right now, Harper is governing from exactly the same place that the Liberals would be governing, dead centre with all the same duplicity and cynicism.

      As for Romney having a Reagan moment, surely you jest. The only thing worse than the choice of leaders we have here is the choice our friends in the United States have been offered.

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16688681743093469863 Dance…dance to the radio

      Bear,
      The CWB Monopoly ended today.
      It took seventy years.
      Please reconsider your Harper is an accountant argument.
      I spent part of my childhood delivering the Winnipeg Free Press and reading about how the CWB was such a necessary institution as they were giving the Soviets wheat and forgivable loans.
      It’s revolutionary in my world for the government to finally call a spade a spade.

  • Anonymous

    “good government” by definition means “by the people, for the people” No ditator has ever met this standard.

    To suggest that Chretien opened up China is a travesty. He simply acted as a lobbyist for his friends at SNC Lavalin and Power Corp.

    To further suggest that our present government is breaking the law is spurious and suggesting that a discussion about leadership should be non-partisan is to say that life is merely a tea party. It’s not. It is reality.

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16123459288721211812 Bear

      You can define good government any way that you like but it doesn’t make it a universal definition, just convenient for you opinion.

      Your understanding of what Chretien did is somewhat limited and the benefits of his trade initiatives extended far beyond SNC Lavelin and Power Corp. It didn’t make him a better or more honest politician, just one more who opened some doors.

      As for our current government breaking the law, you need to take your partisan blinders off and step back. The current government broke its own fixed election date on the first anniversary of its passing because there was a definite fear they would be defeated in the election.

      Despite three separate court rulings that clearly ruled that the government was in violation of the constitution and the law, the Harper government has refused to act on the law in the Khadr case. I personally have no use for convicted terrorists but like it or not, Khadr is a Canadian citizen and like it or not, he is entitled to the same legal rights that you and I enjoy. This government has denied those rights and that is a violation of the rule of law. If the government doesn’t like the law, fair enough…change it don’t ignore it. If they can ignore it for one, they can ignore it for all.

      It was this government that negotiated an out of court settlement for election campaign fraud and no government in our history has seen the amount of allegations and investigation into campaign and voter fraud as this one.

      I voted for the conservatives and I demand a higher standard of performance and ethics from those I support than from those for whom I have no use. I was promised a higher standard of ethics, integrity and governance. It is not being delivered. I have some connection to the inner workings of government and I stand by what I wrote.

  • Anonymous

    Become a leader.

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16123459288721211812 Bear

      Not a chance. Unlike most who run for political office, I am only too aware of my shortcomings.

  • Anonymous

    I might add that PMSH,s vision of an independent Canada freed from dependency on the USA by freer trade with Europe and Pacific Rim countries is not too shabby.

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16123459288721211812 Bear

      I don’t consider simply being a good trader to be a characteristic of a good leader. Jean Chretien opened up China and pulled almost $2 billion in deals out of that country. It didn’t prevent the obscenity that was AdScam. I would suggest you need to look beyond partisan politics at what is really happening in our country and in the world around us.

  • Anonymous

    THE JOB OF A dEMOCRATIC LEADER IS TO MAINTAIN PEACE ORDer AND GOOD GOVERNMENT SO THAT HIS CITIZENS HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO FLOURISH AND PROSPER. tHEY WILL NATURALLY DEVELOP A HEALTHY VISIoN FOR THE FUTURE. PMSH is managing to achieve less government, less beurocracy and decentralized government which are essential for the individual to thrive.
    In times like these a competent manager of an accounting firm may be the best person to survive the worldwide financial collapse which appears to be inevitable.

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16123459288721211812 Bear

      There have been a number of dictators who have achieved peace, order and good government in the past and I would suggest that in a democracy we have a right to expect more. We have the right to expect our leaders to obey and enforce all laws, not just those which are convenient. I would suggest that we have a right to expect our prime minister to respect his own legislation and not only that which is convenient. I would suggest that we have the right to expect more than we are getting.

  • Anonymous

    Democracy Incorporated: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism by Sheldon Wolin has an interesting prospective about our “democracy”