This Democracy Thingy…It Aint Workin’ Man!

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Yeah, right!

By the way, I am not a Marxist. I just used the Scholars and Rogues cartoon because it’s nice. I mean, telling. I mean, it’s pretty close to what I’ve been trying to tell you here.

By the way, Scholars and Rogues? Who in the world did come up with such an insulting name? I mean, come on, man, couldn’t you find something respectful?

Anyway, I have something to say here. Would you care to listen?

See, this democracy thingy, like, the business of voting and all — aint workin’ for me. And I’m gettin’ f… tired of it. Honest to God, I swear it.

Is it working for you? It is? Well, I am glad. Good for you. It aint, for me.

I mean, the business of voting and the electing. The big parties and their big partying — Democrats, Republicans here in the U.S. Or, like, Congress and BJP and the hundreds of crooks and liars over there in India. Or, Liberals and Conservatives in the good-ole Kueen’s Kountry. Their confettis and their carnivals. their festoons and frolics. And their fat fame too.

Their sweet smiles and sweet talks — especially a few times every four or five years depending on how frequently you vote and flex your democratic muscle. You vote for them: you get awed, inspired and even teary-eyed at their firm handshakes and fancy suits and fine speeches. Their bow ties and BMWs. The massive money raising and jaw-droppin’ spending. The big email barrage from their big, undisclosed garage. The phony euphemism of one candidate and the trashy trash of the other make you non-utterly un-confused. The third candidate is always absent.

Neighborhood kid Joe the Schmo runs against neighborhood kid Jane the Jolly — By Golly — people who their own people tell us grew up in your neighborhood even though you never saw them, and those who dress up and look and talk and act and not act and play and go hidin’ exactly the same way, but just not your way, or for that matter, your neighborhood’s way.

Family Film Flashes Flesh for “Fun.”

Then, the non-issue made a big issue, and the real issue made a non-issue. The exclusion, half-exclusion, distortion, frontpaging of no-news and backpaging of frontpage news. A crazy head of state in India bans newspapers she don’t like. Baseball, golf and cricket become larger than life — at least, larger than your TV screen. Foul-addict footballers and phony-filmsy film stars…get covered for what you and I want to keep covered, like, in shyness and in shame. We do one thing and teach our children to follow it. They do something radically different — like, flash their thighs in front of millions of people and their children across the world, and get prime time praise too. Nobody calls them radical. You and I protest their obscenity and rip off the paper on the subway. You and I are called people to suspect. We get watched.

Now, just this week, U.S. Supreme Court said the watch-men and watch-women can hold you for any goddamn reason and strip search you. Wow, baby, that’s real privacy. It tickles me, man! Like, prying your private parts. This land of privacy keeps surprising me all the time!

It all sounds like cliché, right? Well, that’s a part of the game too. You say the same-old, stupid things over and over again. Like, things I’m saying here now. It becomes cliché. You put it in a non-commercial blog. Very few read it. You walk an extra mile and make it a YouTube. Nobody watches. Even your own family members and close friends laugh at you. Or, worse, they say, “It’s nice.” That’s sad.

Meanwhile, the international bank criminals and international war criminals walk free (the Supreme Court could pry their privacy open too, but they didn’t). The little criminals and the totally innocent get life in privately-owned prison without parole. Or, they get shot and killed by gun-toting police and self-appointed, crazy neighborhood watch guys.

The 24/7 war game goes on. They find WMD in Iraq; at least, New York Times and Judith Miller find them. Then, they find nu nukes in a nu Goddamn country. The propaganda…I mean expert opinions…work. The 24/7 fear game comes back live on TV. The visible, lethal tanks and guns and the invisible, lethal gun lobby take over. They bring back the orange and semi-orange and red terror alerts. You don’t want to open your mouth. I try. My family members and close friends forbid me. They say, didn’t you hear on TV the urgent, state-of-the-estate…I mean, state-of-the-state press conference? Our elected president and popular prime minister asked the nation to show patriotism, patience and sacrifice. They say, we must sacrifice at this urgent hour. They say, it’s not normal time. We must be more patriotic and patient now than ever before.

Then, sandwiched between two such abnormal, patriotic, orange-alert, more-sacrificing, patient times, there is a small window of normal, peace time. I keep sacrificing. I keep patience’ing. I lost my old house because I lost my job and then I lost my health care and could not pay the medical bills and could not pay the mortgage bills. We now live in a small apartment in East Brooklyn. Patiently.

My twenty-year-old son dropped out of college because I could not pay his college bills. My thirty-year-old, married daughter returns home to live with us with her two children because her husband lost his job and he said they shipped his factory out to China for good and that there’s no way he could work at McDonald’s, flipping burgers. Three months later, he starts working at McDonald’s. They still live with us.

I however get just a tiny-winy impatient that the visible, killing inflation and price gouging and the invisible, killing lobbyists, pushers and price gougers do not share our sacrifice — whether it’s abnormal war time or patient peace time. Oil companies, food companies, seed companies, milk companies, drug companies, tree-turned-toilet-paper companies, computer chip and hightech companies, the bank and money companies, and companies who play companies like a Las Vegas casino do not sacrifice either. They get themselves hefty bonuses. I heard they also bought big houses and went to Bali for one of their recent vacations. Or, was it Bermuda they went?

These Occupy kids are so violent I can’t believe it!

My son got a little impatient too — dumb kid. He went to protest on Wall Street. He came back home two days later with his face swollen, one broken tooth and right arm in a sling. My wife is treating him now. She is his home-based doctor.

The patient guy who’s resting in the hammock and complaining about the Goddamn Marxists seems he’s having a swell time, and peace time. For the others who’re working for him as a tree…well…I forgot to ask them their feelings. Maybe, you can do that. Please. Would you?

I mean, this democracy thingy was supposed to be something simple — something you and I could see with our own simple eyes in our own simple life…before death. Right? I always thought democracy and voting and electing our leaders would lead us out of this misery and mess…before death. I always believed democratically elected leaders would find jobs, provide health care and education, and lead us into a world free of violence, prison camps, drugs and gun killings.

Now, where are the people we elected the last time? Do you see them way up there — like, how do they do their democracy? You do? Well, I am glad. Good for you. I don’t. Maybe, I should see an eye doctor.

As soon as I get my eye insurance, I’ll see a good opthalmokocist…or, whatever that is. Optrimician.

By the way, this blog is not about sarcasm. This is about circus.

No…wait…it’s about democracy, and voting.

Yeah, right.

Sincerely Writing,

Partha

Brooklyn, New York

10 thoughts on “This Democracy Thingy…It Aint Workin’ Man!

  1. Dear Partha, I understand what you are saying, but I am sick, so for me none of this matters. I don’t care what others are or aren’t doing. All I care about is what can I do to try and make things better with the little bit of energy that I have. I also am ready to leave this world if things get to be too much. I know nothing is permanent. In fact, it is because of my belief that everything is impermanent, that I am able to want to continue at all.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts about this crazy thing we call life. I look forward to reading them.

    Namaste,
    Neva

    1. Thank you, Neva. I’m sorry that because of your sickness, “none of this matters.” I don’t believe in anything permanent either; in my Hindu philosophy, it’s the continuous process of evolution — of life and its surroundings — that keeps me going too. Right now, the state of mind I wrote about is real for me. I cannot help but express it. This is one of the few, little tools I have: to think and to write and to ask others to think and to write.

  2. Your frustrations with the current state of the political system is cleraly vivid in some of your posts in your blog and elsewhere. I am glad that you have been disillusioned by voting business in democracy. Do not woory about sarcasm – it is not necessarily bad and it can be serious method of communication. The basic point is your realization,. If you travel along this road of thought, you may find that Marxism, Socialism, Democracy and similar great concepts/ philosophies developed a few centuries ago for commonweal, have become obsolete, outdated and no longer have the capacity to deal with the societal objectives they intended to pursue. They have all become dictatorial , fascist exploitative systems to opress the common people without political, bureacratic patronage. The earlier theses thoughts and systems are dumped the better. The only problem is we have not developed a coherent, logical alternative that is better than the extant systems still so endeared by great majority of people based on continuing blind faith. But more and more people are getting indifferent to political systems or outright protesting. That is the hopefor the future. If and when you have some time, you may like to have a few glances at this book’s preface and chapters at http://basudebsenbooks.blogspot.in/2012/02/democracy-explotative-political-system.html . I wanted to give you a copy of this book last November in US and last January in Kolkata. But we could not meet.

    1. Dr. Sen: Sorry we didn’t have an opportunity to meet. Hopefully, next time. Thanks for your comment. My frustration is not about democracy as a process, but rather, the appropriation and exploitation of it by the power. I do not believe in rabid individualism. I am for the collective progress of the powerless.

      1. Partha, the worth of any thing lies in what it delivers, not just the process but also the outcome. Each person may have different perceptions however about what one gets from the thing, its process and outcomes. Human beings have over the ages and civilization have aspired for collectivism because rabid individualism is unsustainable. But over the ages and civilization, various forms of collectivism have consistently turned into ravid collectivism trying to kill individualism away, not because merely of attacking individualism, but because collectiveism in the process of evolutions has repeatedly failed to deliver collective commonweal. I suspect that democracy, republic states, socialism and communism across the World has reached that stage of hieghtened exploitation by onle a select few individuals with political power in connivance with select few with money and muscle power with complete disregard of maximizing undefined, collective net benefits and their distribution among individuals that make a collective..

      2. Dr. Sen: You wrote, “the worth of any thing lies in what it delivers, not just the process but also the outcome.” Very true. Looking at the way this so-called democracy and its so-called torch bearers function, there’s very little reason to believe the process works. Problem is, we have not been able to come up with any other viable alternative. Rabid communism has failed, so has rabid fascism. Today, it’s beyond doubt that rabid capitalism has failed us too — I’ve wrote recently that when communism failed, there was a big capitalist media to tell us it failed. Now when capitalism failed, there’s no big communist media to tell us that it did. Coming back to the question of democracy, other choices such as monarchy, theocracy, etc. are things we know have not worked for us. Then, the question is, who is “us?” Is it the top one percent or five percent, or is it the bottom 95-99 percent who get excluded? Which system gives us the best available shot for the 95-99 percent? If it’s not a totalitarian system — like fascism or communism — then some form of social democracy is perhaps the best shot. Can we work the system our way — the 95-99 percent’s way? If so, how? The current, globalized Wall Street model is definitely no democracy. In fact, it’s an insult to democracy.

  3. Partha, we both realize that all forms of political State have succeeded for a while, raised expectations and then became dysfunctional, failures, oppressive and obsolete. This is true as much of monarchy, religious despotism and feudal oligarchy as off state capitalism, democratic socialism and communism. Monarchy, feudal oligarch and religious despotism did not go as soon as they had failed. It is unlikely that state capitalism, democratic socialism or totalitarian communism will go away on their own. There is strong addiction to democracy because it theoretically promisesd limiting oppression to at best 49.99%. But in reality al systems so far developed and in practice have proved to be systems that degenerate into concentration of power to less than 1% with 99% remaining dependent beggers under opression together or by turns. Again, it is always the less than 1% who every time thought of alternative temporarily better systems and convinced/ compelled the 99% to accept their ideas and got them installed through romantic struggles. Maybe in future again the history will repeat itself and some 1% will come out with some alternative to attract 99%’s acceptance. Before they do so, they will, try as in the past, some tinkering here some tewaking there in the extant (democratic system) itself till such redesigns prove to be grand failures. This is what has been happening in the recent past. Even the concept of social democracy is quite old as much as people’s democracy is.
    Designing a really better alternative system demands application of considerable amount of brainpower, unconditioned by attachment to past failed ideas and free from desire to cleverly chain individuals into collectives to be run, managed by a different 1%. Yes, in the above perspective, one can really doubt if the the current globalise stock markets or capture wall street movements are both not insults to democracy but also an admittance of the powers of human brains applied in these areas.
    As we try to move away from rapid invididualism, we tend to haste in defining who is this ‘US’ and ” They” based merely on numbers that we can collect rather than the human beings the numbers represent. Trying to do good to myself may just be replaced by trying to do good to others in my way: good to others cannot really be done without removing ‘my’ and ‘us’ from the center of motivation of activity. I recognise the problems you raise, but I have little brainpower left now and with so much of dependency on external help with old age, that I cannot probably answer your questions in an unbiassed, desire-free manner.

  4. I wish to correct the last sentence in the middle para in the previous reply as: Yes, in the above perspective, one can really doubt if the the current globalise stock markets or capture wall street movements are both not insults of equal measure to democracy: both are probably also an admittance of the current inadequacies of the powers of human brains applied in these areas.

  5. Not sure what you exactly mean by “inadequacies of the powers of human brains applied in these areas.” However, I much appreciate your taking the time to write in such details. I am a believer in the power of the so-called ordinary people and I have written about ways how to achieve real people’s power; however, my problem is lack of resources to take my ideas one or two steps above. That’s the other eternal tragedy.

    1. I better illustrate to explain what I mean: to deal with the technogical and efficiency problems associated with the War, the US put together the smartest brains available in the country – they did not just put any Tom Dick and Harry simply because they wanted to contribute, were willing to work hard and possed missionary zeal full of patriotism. I do not decry the power of the ordinary: I wish there are no ordinary human being on earth – everyone could and should be extra-ordinary with brain power application comparable to Eientin, Hakings et all. Real sustainable group power does not come out of mere wish or out of the glory of being ordinary or out of the strength of numbers in the crowd: it comes out of clarity of thinking, sharpening the skills of applying brain power to identify, crystalize and solving complex problems with honesty, dedication and societal (rather than sectional/ emotional) committment..
      Do not worry about lack of resources. All resources are within each individual waiting to be discovered and utilized. As long as you follow valid and appropriate methods to make your ideas of what needs to be done, how to be done and with what implications for the ordinary people to achieve the real power, you will progress and contribute to the effective progress foward of the society. There is no trajedy: you have to succceed. When the ideas ripe, they not only become fit for use but create also their attraction for use.

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