Random Musings

My Photo
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada, United States

Thursday, November 04, 2004

A Dark Day

Black Tuesday. Wasn't that what they called the day the stock market crashed that led to the Great Depression? I'm not sure, it doesn't really matter. But this tuesday was a black one. About a week or two ago I got a forwarded email titled "The Fall of the Athenian Republic" - It purported to tell about how an 18th century political scientist said that all Democracies fail after 200 years or so because they vote for Liberals, and that voting for Kerry would cause the fall of American democracy. When that was supposed to have been written, there had only been two democracies in the world - Athens and Rome. Athens fell when they were conquered because they were too proud to keep up their allies. Rome's democracy fell because they allowed a leader to scare them so much about an outside threat of barbarians from another culture that they gave him emergency powers to fight the threat, and he used those powers to make his absolute power permanent. Do either of those sound familiar? No, back in the 18th century, when America's democracy was novel, there was one thing the political scientists all said would be the downfall of America - that it allows the uninformed masses an equal vote with the educated and knowledgable, and that such a flaw would allow a demagogue to take control of the country. For over 200 years it was never really a problem, but somehow that's changed, and I really don't understand why. Always before, with even the most corrupt of politicians, there has always been that line that they dare not cross lest they will never become re-elected if the public finds out. We have now written out a message to the politicians of America - "Don't worry about the line. Run a good campaign, give us some nice lines from a Rambo movie, and do what you want." I honestly believe that the precedent this election sets is the removal of re-election as a check on the government's power. It's what we formed this country for, but we're more than happy to give it away now as long as someone is there to make the world look as comfortingly simple as the gunfight at the OK Corral.
Okay, done with my rant. I know it sounds like I'm over-reacting, but I really don't think so. In the long term, in 20-50 years, you'll see the difference. Unless we do something to change it. And it will take a lot.