Last updateFri, 27 Nov 2020 10am

Democracies today need a spinal realignment

Americans’ well-known birthday celebrations are incomparable for their exuberance and patriotism.

But this year, July the Fourth seemed a self-conscious attempt to appear contented and vibrant as always.  As an American, I felt a sadness in place of our usual pride and exuberance, given that we know our federal power structure is infested by foreign dictators and foreign money (the foreign dictators and money behind all this will remain anonymous).  But I just happen to have a Russian maxim, Алты́нного во́ра ве́шают, а полти́нного че́ствуют. It’s not writing from a crashed alien spaceship, but a famously applied notice one might hear from dictators and plutocrats: “Little thieves are hanged, but great ones are praised.”

Sure Mexico has its tragic and never-ending conflict with cartel rule in many aspects of local governance. But consider that the United States has been the captive of a venal mob also, both foreign as well as domestic.  Without mentioning a nation again, crime after crime is laughed over by the perps: Call it Mr. Deekhovichny Goes to Washington.

Here are some of the core foundations of democracy that have been corrupted in many countries and need to be rescued from the self-serving.

1. Journalistic impartiality

Journalistic integrity must be redefined and revisited. 

Impartiality, a balanced story of the two or three sides of an issue, must first require that all the sides be sane and rational. When one side is clearly confused, obviously lying or totally demented despite the facts, that side should not be mentioned at all. Otherwise, ignorant people will accept the derangement once it appears in the mainstream news. A deranged political position is like a rap song; it is impossible to hum. Also, the killing and threatening of journalists is as real as the spiteful, medieval idea of “killing the messenger,” which was not proverbial but real among dictators and tyrants.

2. Voter intelligence

I am forced to proclaim that there should be “awareness” and intelligence qualifications in order to be eligible to vote today, in any democracy, from Hong Kong to South Africa, or Mexico to the Philippines.

For example, in the United States, if voters believe any of the following, they should be disqualified.

• He’s smart because he knows how to cheat tax laws.

• Only climate change I know is my annual vacation to Jamaica.

• Where can I get an Electoral College basketball team jersey.

• Net neutrality ... yeah, I’m against it. It’s a fishing ban, isn’t it, and is unfair.

• We need a new constitution. How good could this one be if it needed 28 amendments.

3. Voter Security

From now on in history there will be attempts to influence democratic elections through unregulated loopholes in social media. Online, you may get calls or texts or ads to confuse and misstate key political issues to the advantage of enemy nations.  Best to trust a non-white person to assist you at the polling booth. So many white males are in jail or under indictment from this current U.S. administration; whites are starting to outnumber the minorities.

4. Checks and balances

In the United States, checks and balances have changed: The checks are in rubles and the balances in dollars.  So you can no longer be sure your candidate for office isn’t there for his or her own aggrandizement. If he or she wishes to take everything into courts where like-minded judges think their black robes make them wizards, they should be run out of town (old Western expression that conservatives might understand).

5. Gerrymandering

Not so much a problem in Mexico, “Gerrymandering, in a word, is why American democracy is broken,” according to the Dallas Morning News. And out of generosity and reciprocity, this sleight of hand is America’s gift to Russia, who has used it to rig its takeover of parts of Ukraine.  It is not a geographical version of Mexican Train. It is partisan bypass surgery using voter redistricting to decide which voters belong where. This means they can move your address around as they please. So how democratic is democratic these days, when you might not be able to find yourself on a map?