Masthead graphic based on a painting by Gudrun Thriemer.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Claus Schunke, "Response to poll about threats to democracy," June 9, 2008.

World Report – Threatening(!) Democracy

Nobody has come up with a clear picture of this mythical democracy – not even the Greeks – and certainly nobody ever has practiced this walking-into-the-sunset-together-happily system. So, at best, what we have today is that practiced by the USA, which attempts to shove it down everybody else’s throat in the process. American democracy in action – everywhere! We, the white male American people! Oh, Canada!

And when we look at this American-style democracy as such, we see a big problem. And when you talk about a variety of single, possibly most damaging, security threats to it – I say right on! Threaten away with all of them concurrently, and maybe something will shift, because we are not dealing with one item being more threatening than another. They were all created by one super-threatening source – American-style democracy. And thus terrorism was born.

If you are talking about equality-for-everybody-in-it, as Bill Moyers does in his Media-Reform-Conference speech, this can’t happen (corporate God-Bless-America won’t allow it!), all your possible contenders will need to be addressed together, as interlocking parts of a system – the whole thing has to be torn down and rebuilt. Communism looked at it, as has socialism, both major “threats” to American democracy because of their nature. Power to the people and all that - not nice!

This can’t be achieved from the top down, no trickling-down here; it needs to start from the bottom up. It has to be an individual effort within every individual’s parameters, here/now – we have to start caring for each other, instead of being motivated by material greed and emotional power, as demonstrated by the USA. Talking about solidarity and (remember?) the poor starving children in India is the feeling of safety of the weak in a (weak) group and “nimby”, the safety of distance.

When Bill Moyers told his audience everybody should look at the person to his left and shake his hand, then turn to the person on his right and shake his hand, there was great commotion, laughter in the audience. I believe that much of this came from their safe bubble being busted suddenly (from safe observer to unsafe participant) – they wouldn’t necessarily have shaken their neighbors’ hands if not told to do so. A reform-crowd. But Bill Moyers called this a connecting moment, whatever his exact words were. We did this 30 years ago in awareness groups, and we still feel as alone and unsafe as ever. Better dressed though. Newer car.

I believe – the greatest threat to democracy(concept) is democracy(reality).

Claus Schunke
Nelson BC
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alan wells said...

Bravo. Let's shake the tree and see what falls out. Let's hear more.