Those who seek to lead us, teach us. 

Since the Brexit Referendum vote and the American General Election there has been a marked increase in racist name calling in many schools. I could understand the increase in racist name calling – children are often unkind to each other and policies about immigration on both sides of the debate were exaggerated and this presumably taught the parents and the children that racism is OK because the side who were portrayed (wrongly in my view) as racists won.

There has also been an increase in homophobic name calling since Brexit and the US election. Presumably the same principle applies – the person who was claimed to be homophobic and sexist won, and thus parents and children were taught that homophobic name calling is OK because Mr Trump won.

Those who seek to lead us teach us and many listen to their teachings and adopt their ideas. People often pick up not the ideas of the politicians but the false versions of those ideas promulgated by that politician’s opponent.

I do not believe that 31 million Americans who voted for Mr Trump belong in a basket of deplorables, any more than I believe that 52% of the UK’s populations are racists. The vast majority of Americans and of the British are decent principled people, however they may have voted.

 

What is Democracy?

Things are getting complicated. The results of democratic votes leave many people unsatisfied, as the votes electing Donald Trump as US President and those in favour of the UK leaving the European Union show. Those who are on the losing side of such votes try to reverse the votes by legal means, often offering up arguments that they would not countenance had they won the votes and the losers offered up those same arguments.

It has often been thus. In the USA, Mr Trump was repeatedly asked before the election whether he would accept the result of the vote. He said that the election was “rigged” and this statement brought howls of derision from his opponent and those supporting her, who claimed that democracy was threaten by such a viewpoint. Today those very people do not accept the results of the vote carried out in accordance with the rules set out in the constitution, yet that is democracy.

In the United Kingdom the result of the referendum is now going to be pored over by judges, who may well render the “leave” vote impracticable by their decision, any by the restrictions imposed by the courts may force the government to take actions which make its bargaining position untenable and thus alter the democratic votes’ effect.

We all have the right to disagree with democratically made decisions but we do not have the right to attempt to overturn them or render them nugatory, for if we do we deny the democratic process we deny our most important freedom. Democracy simply appeals to the lowest common denominator of interests so it will often provide results that those seeking to impose their own versions of what is in the interest of a nation will find repellent.

Democracy has been described as the least worse system of government. It exists because time and time again we see that dictators, tyrants and monarchs are not to be trusted. We deny it at our peril.

Pots and Kettles Part 2

After many months of name calling the Kettle has beaten the Pot in the American Presidential Election. The point about pots calling the kettle black is that are both black. It seems that they both choose to ignore the parable about casting stones. Continue reading

Quite An Achievement

In the Western hemisphere, and now in the Eastern hemisphere each new generation has lived a more prosperous, safer and better life than the preceding generation. But that trend of improvement in life expectation has reversed, and now in many if not most, nations the younger generation will be less prosperous than the generation that begat them, and what challenges will future generations face as a result of climate change, today barely considered and kicked firmly off the back burner into the long grass? Continue reading

Pots and kettles

Should I fear for the United States or fear for the world? Hilary Rodam Clinton is probably likely to become the next President of the world’s most powerful nation. She brings with her all the ugly baggage of a career politician. Such is the stuff that the voters despise, but the voters of the United States have to choose between the fire and the frying pan, an unsavoury unhealthy choice. Continue reading

A Triumph or a Disaster?

Time has passed, more than two months, since the result of the UK’s referendum was known and Brexit became a reality.For some the result has been depressing but for others quite the opposite. I rather think the result was a triumph of experience over hope. The young with the optimism of youth, feel the older generation has betrayed them. The older generation, perhaps with wisdom in their eyes believe that the vote was in the best interests of all who live in the United Kingdom. We shall see. Continue reading

Take it Back, folks

“We’re going to take our country back, folks” is the rhetoric of Donald Trump, a candidate for the Presidential election which will take place in the USA in November. Mr Trump has all the appeal of a Benito Mussolini – smug, self-satisfied, and somewhat fat in his mind, assuring the American people that they will not be swamped by foreigners and that all foreigners will be treated harshly and in some cases without justice.

As the new American Mussolini talks so his audience cheers, and the audience cheers in the same way, I imagine, that audiences years ago cheered lynchings.

All of Mr Trump’s supporters favour taking their country back, but they do not delve too deeply into what taking their country back means, for if they did they would return the country to the indigenous peoples from whom they stole it, just a few hundred years ago.