Plundering Democracy

By Michal John

     Today Condoleezza Rice, or Condi, as Bush finds it necessary to call her, was sworn in as Secretary of State.  While I watched our President express his families love for Condi and how special and valuable she is I had to stop and pause; was he speaking of a favorite family pet which he and his loving family had carefully groomed for this position?  Would the President speak of Tom Ridge as Tommy or Colin Powell as Colly?  Is the President on a first name basis with just the women in his Cabinet?  Does that first name basis belay the fact that the President maintains his own power and superiority in the presence of women by calling them affectionately by their first names?

      In Secretary Rice’s speech she vowed to work with “all reformers all around the world” to bring freedom and democracy to our troubled world.  Her reasoning included; the world will not be peaceful even if the terrorists are stopped unless we replace repressive governments with a voting democracy, the only real way to have world peace is for everyone to be free, sporting democratic governments, the new flavor of the month.  Secretary Rice believes that our government is the only form of government that should exist for people on this planet. She referred to our founding Father’s who must have been turning in their graves to be included in a speech which in essence was a call for every dissident in every country with a repressive government to rise up against their oppressing nation with the promise, from our Secretary of State, that the great Democratic Nation of The United States of America will come to their aid and help them blast away the tyranny from their land so they can hold free elections and be ruled by their newly elected officials with their new democratic constitutions.

     I love a lofty goal as well as the next guy but I have always felt that example was the best way to bring democracy to the world.  Of course our example seems to be a bit tarnished lately now that we appear more and more like aggressive imperialists.  I suppose we need to step up our aggressive democratization of the world just because our image has slipped a bit in the last four years.  Unfortunately it is not democracy people want to emulate it is our ways of doing business.  People want freedom to make money, lots of money, and what they care about is free enterprise.  I was recently in New Zealand and I had a chance to speak to Brian Ringrose, a small bandleader.  He said he envied America’s “power” and American’s “stuff” but he was content to live his simple life in his beautiful land without the power or the stuff.  Of course Brian lives in a democratic nation.  But it wasn’t our freedom or our democracy he envied.  It was the power and stuff.

      I love our democratic ideals we speak so highly of from our national podium centered in front of our court heralds, the press, but those ideals are being stripped away little by little, for our protection, by things like the Patriot Act. 

     Bringing democracy to the world is a tall order.  Shall we start with a friend like Israel?  I am sure there are people within her boarders who are afraid they are delving into ethnic cleansing and that they are becoming a theocratic government in the guise of a democratic one.  Would we rush to their aid if they rose up against theocracy?  What about China?  If the dissidents rose up and marched for freedom would we rush to their aid?  What about North Korea, Pakistan, Iran, Syria, Libya, Cuba, Saudi Arabia and the list goes on. 

     Let’s pretend that we have provided the world with democracy and that everyone is happy about it.  Will that end war and bring peace?  There is a theory being touted by Bush and the new Secretary of State that claims that would be the case but I fear history would prove it wrong.  There will always be wars over supply and demand items.  The most precious commodities in today’s current environment will demand our interest and the importance of securing those commodities for our country will be the true priority for spreading our democratic ideals.  Oil is one of those precious commodities.  Water, farmland, electrical resources are all commodities that growing industrial nations will need and that need will continue to grow. These are the resources that are dwindling or are being lost to pollution.   Of course it pays to be the big boy on the block.  The United States gets the lion’s share, for the moment, of everything because it has the power.  If we “raise up nations” we will have to share and I just don’t see us wanting to do that.  I believe we want to in theory but in actual practice we won’t want to give up our power or our stuff.  We will want to be the King of the democracies and I fear President Bush wants to be King of the World or at least considered a blessed Holy Saint.

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