Saturday, May 05, 2007

Burying democracy

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In one of my write-ups (Democracy, Power and Terror) I had stated:

Democracy is the air that I breathe and God with the golden opportunities of a free world is my best reason for living. The freedoms of Democracy are its pulse and the individual's right of way in life, deduct from them and the scale of power tilts away from the people. Its joy are the rule of law, civil liberties, equal opportunities and freedoms that let people be the best they can be, in its celebration of life. Sadly, all over the world today, laws are getting increasingly discriminatory and offensive as people are fitted into tagged boxes; religion, nationality, sex, color, wealth and even by cash carried, weight and preferences. Unusual laws are in place, which appear to severely impair free speech, freedom of worship, association, movement and assembly, property and privacy laws, the freedoms of Democracy. Domestic policies place ordinary citizens and visitors under the microscope, innovative electronic surveillance, enriched data pools, exceptionable laws and every conceivable prying device are being infused to bolster an already intense security watch and invade privacies. People are petrified and driven into a chronic sense of insecurity that allow governments and their representatives to pass convenient laws that wash away freedoms and liberties, our right to ask hard questions and are difficult to reverse. There is no locomotion for the common man.

The McCain-Feingold Act which is made in America, to deal with politically incorrect speech, is a solid sucker punch that knocks out their first amendment and a bad example of how to gag citizens that may have inspired tyrannical leadership around the globe. America must understand that to many people she is the very definition of democracy and to quite a decent few, God's own country.

I have continued to note, to my complete chagrin, America’s global double-speak in matters that strongly affect and alter democracy’s character. The latest of these inconsiderate outbursts came by way of the Bush administration’s press release on Nigeria’s recent elections. In that release Tom Casey, Deputy Spokesman at Washington noted on behalf of the Bush administration that:

"Analysis of the process by most international observers does not
conform to what Nigeria's national electoral commission has reported.
There are credible reports of malfeasance and vote rigging in some
constituencies. The scope of violence that occurred also was
regrettable. Overall, the process was seriously flawed."


“Whatever the outcome of legal challenges to the electoral results,
we are encouraged that on May 29 Nigeria will experience its first
civilian-to-civilian transfer of power.
The United States is prepared to work with Nigeria's next administration in building upon our excellent bilateral relations ...”

It is unbearable to hear an administration that purportedly claims to have emanated from a due democratic process issue such a disclaimer on democracy. In its barest form, it is a statement that makes an orphan out of democracy. It is a most blatant disavowal of the individual’s inalienable right to vote and be voted for. It is a statement designed to take away my oxygen and asphyxiate me; a stand-up poke in the eye for democracy. A crucifixion of America’s founding fathers and their intent that the individual be the master of his destiny in the continuing search for liberty. It is everything the American state stands against and in the final analysis, a lie told by the Bush administration that betrays the real objective of its continuing quest in Iraq and other nations to which it pretends to bring the real fruits of true democracy.

The following article in National Security Network best captures the body and soul of the Bush administration’s hypocrisy:

Since America was founded, it has been a beacon for those around the world who struggle for democracy, human rights, and respect for the rule of law. Promoting democracy has consistently made America safer and increased its standing in the world. When leaders show through both word and deed that they genuinely respect these values, they provide hope for those who struggle against tyranny and opportunities for winning support (for) America’s foreign policy goals. Democracy promotion takes away the terrorists’ most valuable recruiting tool. Moreover, even the poorest democracies outperform poor autocracies on most indicators of social well-being (life-expectancy, literacy rates, agricultural yields, etc.), and democracies are far less likely than autocracies to experience severe economic catastrophes. Democracy promotion has always been and should continue to be a central element of American foreign policy.

When it comes to democracy and human rights, the Bush administration has substituted rhetoric for action. The administration promised to free Afghanistan from the Taliban, but a lack of will and resources has allowed the Taliban and other extremist Islamic parties to regain ground in large areas of the country. In Iraq, President Bush pledged to bring democracy and freedom, but the administration’s recklessness and poor planning has made Iraq a hotbed of insurgency and a haven for terrorists. Closer to home, the U.S. did little in Haiti to discourage the elected government’s violent overthrow, and even less to stop the resulting instability and violence. Meanwhile, the administration has corrupted America’s moral authority and ability to lead in the world by condoning torture as an interrogation tool and by allowing suspected terrorists to be imprisoned with no effort to corroborate charges that are often based on flimsy evidence.
Moreover, the Bush administration has often rewarded autocratic and repressive states with greater foreign assistance than it has provided to democratic states. Such behavior leaves America vulnerable to charges of hypocrisy and undermines its ability to lead effectively. In sharp contrast to its pro-democracy rhetoric, the Bush administration has looked the other way while authoritarian governments in Russia, Pakistan, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, and elsewhere have used the ‘war on terror’ as an excuse for repressing dissent and democratic change. Strategic considerations may legitimately require some cooperation with unsavory regimes, but the United States must not shy away from public or private criticism of undemocratic governments. It must be U.S. policy to support and protect the courageous reformers who risk their lives to promote democracy and human rights.

Does one really need to say more?

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