The democratic process?

obama-unicorn

Here and in Europe, we see the results of a democratic process under strain. I’m not an American and don’t feel I can comment on the candidates in depth – but goodness me, I don’t think that Mr Trump and Mrs Clinton are the two best people America has to tender for the job of CEO USA. But they are good at other stuff – publicity, fund-raising, avoiding direct answers to questions about their past, rousing the passions, both of their core support and, in another way their enemies. It isn’t quite clear what their qualifications for running a country are. Mrs Clinton got where she was because of Bill, and Mr Trump because of his business expertise; neither are necessarily qualities needed for running a country. But then what qualifications did Mr Obama have? Fine, but then what sort of job has he done? You could go back this way and get nowhere, I am told that when Mr Reagan became POTUS there were many who wondered that qualifications an actor had for that job? Well, they forgot that a big part of the job is making people ‘feel good’, and he was brilliant at that. They also forgot he’d been Governor of what was then the third largest economy in the world (I think California was that in the 60s) and was good at choosing good people to work with him. So I guess you could say that it is hard to write a person specification for the POTUS. It is for any leader in a democracy.

All democratic leaders have to be good at the winning the election thing. Now I know this won’t go down well with Neo and many of you, but it seems to me that Bill Clinton was a genius at winning elections; he didn’t have much of a clue what to do with power, but if there had not been a two term rule, he’d no doubt still be standing for election. He clearly loved electioneering and the glad-handing. But he’s also proof that whilst that can win elections, it doesn’t guarantee being able to handle power.

In the USA and Europe, it seems to me we are getting fed up of politicians who can win elections but then ignore us. These guys (and gals) promise paradise and deliver dystopia. That leads us to look with favour at insurrectionists. So here in the UK we look at the UK Independence Party, in France at the Front National. But our electoral systems ensure these people cannot win elections. However, shutting those who win huge numbers of votes out of power, simply induces even more disillusionment with the whole process of democracy.

America has a constitutional process which is, of course, designed to protect against the dangers of democracy if it is defined as rule by the majority – you have a balance of powers on the eighteenth century model. But I see increasing debate about whether it is fit for purpose in our times. I see the same thing in Europe. It is no accident that there is a grudging (sometimes) admiration for Putin. The Chinese, of course, have no intention of running a democracy like ours – they have ‘another path’.

I am no pundit, but it seems to me unless our politicians clean up their act, we could well be in the last stages of what Churchill called ‘the democratic experiment’. Tell me ‘bah humbug’ – please!

Advertisements

About JessicaHof
Anglican Christian, evangelist, survivor, grateful

53 Responses to The democratic process?

  1. NEO says:

    First and most important, Welcome back to our blog, dearest Friend 🙂 xxx

    You are, of course, correct, whatever his faults, and he had (and has) plenty, Bill Clinton is a genius at winning elections, and apparently has a good deal of charisma, although that was always lost on me.

    I wonder if that is a good bit of the problem, the person that can win the election is not always/usually/ever the best person for the job, but, if so, I haven’t a clue how we solve it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • JessicaHof says:

      Thank you – good to BE BACK! It may be that like all too many young women, the Clinton charisma overpowers the brain functions, but I hope not. It seemed to me that Mr Reagan was almost ideal. He never thought he could run the country, but he was good at winning elections and at choosing men who could run the country under his leadership – that may be as good as we can hope for.

      Liked by 1 person

      • NEO says:

        🙂 xx

        Yes, and I think that theory goes to the heart of the matter. Reagan knew right from wrong, and was strong enough to believe in himself, even when he was wrong, and to admit it. Someone once said that first rate men choose first rate helper but second rate men choose third (or worse) rate men (they usually end up being sycophants) and that pretty much defines the difference. Maggie Thatcher was, I think, an even better example.

        Liked by 1 person

        • JessicaHof says:

          There’s a lot in that. The second rate are scared of being shown up, so they choose people even worse than them. Reagan seems to have been comfortable in his skin, and perhaps as a former actor, quite used to playing a variety of parts?

          Liked by 1 person

        • NEO says:

          I suspect there is much truth in that. Along with a willingness to keep learning, witness recognizing that the Democratic party was not where he belonged, leading to his own “A Time for Choosing”.

          Liked by 1 person

        • JessicaHof says:

          Yes, there’s a real problem when parties become effectively conspiracies against the state 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

        • NEO says:

          And even more when they become conspiracies for the state against the people.

          Liked by 1 person

        • JessicaHof says:

          That’s true 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

        • NEO says:

          Sadly it is, and there are plenty of examples. 😦 🙂

          Like

  2. Dave Smith says:

    My thought is that our presidency has devolved into this present spectacle which would probably send our founders spinning in their graves. All our public servants were supposed to be that: servants. We need not make them rich, one should not need a fortune to run, and one should then go back to doing whatever it was they were doing before they served. But see how this has turned into the battle of the rich and the home of professional politicians.

    There is no perfect background for a president: only one very poor one . . . political elitists. Perhaps, once again, we will have an outcry for term limits and demands that the laws which they enact apply equally to them as well. It is a dirty business these days and has been for a very long part of our history.

    Actually, being filthy rich, like Trump, is almost the only way that an aspirant to office can bypass the currying of favors from the special interest groups and benefactors. It shouldn’t be that way but it would take an act of Congress to change the way we go about electing folks and that will never happen.

    Our only hope is in men and women of goodwill who will do what they say and say what they mean. If that were possible and they could remain uncorrupted by the system we might just get a good president.

    Liked by 1 person

    • JessicaHof says:

      In retrospect, Washington seems more and more remarkable – a man who could have been president for life and earned as much money as he wanted – but who stood aside and let others rule. Would that we had such men now!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Dave Smith says:

        As do I dear lady. It seems we have created an elite class and parties that curry favors from the rich and influential. Kissing rings and other parts of the anatomy has become the hallmark of being a ‘good’ politician; and Clinton was real good at it.

        Liked by 1 person

        • JessicaHof says:

          Aristotle feared democracy and put it in his ‘bad systems of government’ for this very reason – that it would lead to educated people debasing themselves to win support and money needed to rule. Of course, the USA was founded as a constitutional system to avoid that – might have been better if the Senate had never become an elective chamber?

          Liked by 1 person

        • Dave Smith says:

          Not sure what that would look like, Jess. But it certainly has become the bottleneck of Congress in our days. It worked well for a long time but it is broken as it seems each branch is now broken.

          Liked by 1 person

        • NEO says:

          I think she’s right, as originally designed it was to be the state’s voice in the federal government, and a necessary one, in my view, leading to far less centralization. The Senate was emphatically designed to be a bottleneck – to slow down the impulses so common in the mobocracy.

          Liked by 2 people

        • JessicaHof says:

          I thought I remembered that from my schooling -in Missourah!

          Liked by 1 person

        • NEO says:

          You remembered well. They must have “Showed you” 🙂 It was Wilson and the Progressives that amended the Constitution to make it direct election.

          Liked by 1 person

        • JessicaHof says:

          They sure did 🙂

          On my feed, this link is showing in front of your and dave’s replies:

          https://polldaddy.com/js/rating/rating.js

          don’t know why?

          Liked by 1 person

        • NEO says:

          i don’t either, but it’s showing an nearly everyone’s lately. it looks like HTML parameter for the comment but is above my paygrade, I’m afraid.

          Liked by 1 person

        • JessicaHof says:

          Looks like it’s related to the being able to gives thumbs up and down 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

        • Dave Smith says:

          But if not voted for by the people of the states, then how is it maintained? I was thinking that she might be hinting that they should be appointed somehow by the state (and I don’t know what that would look like). It iseems to me that the real cleanup requires both a purging of the party politics . . . perhaps with additional parties. The two we have are contain people who are at extremes within thier own parties. Surely that was not the system was designed to be.

          Liked by 2 people

        • NEO says:

          Simple enough, they were appointed by the state legislatures, per the Constitution. We tried abolishing parties here, it’s no better, the parties are just unidentified, so we get to guess. Factions, as Washington feared, are here to stay.

          Liked by 2 people

        • Dave Smith says:

          True enough. These majority leaders have the power to shut us down or take us down and our new one seems to be as bad as the last ones. It is shameful and we seem powerless to stop it.

          Liked by 2 people

        • Dave Smith says:

          . . . and I meant to say that this applies to both House and Senate.

          Liked by 2 people

        • NEO says:

          That’s true but the House has always been directly elected.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Dave Smith says:

          Talking about the party politics of majority leadership and how beholding they are.

          Liked by 1 person

        • NEO says:

          True, but it’s always been true, and is even worse in Britain.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Dave Smith says:

          I know . . . seems like we want to go the way of our old mum here.

          Liked by 2 people

        • NEO says:

          But of course our elites want to. What could be better than rigid party discipline under the control of the head of government. 😦

          Liked by 1 person

        • Dave Smith says:

          Maybe a case of malaria? BTW, you may lose contact with me – I’m on backup power here. Probably a pesky squirrel just shorted out our transformer (of course he will not do that again). How ’bout’s you getting in your truck and swap out that transformer for me, old buddy. Our utility crews are not too swift . . . good ol’ southern boys that aren’t in any hurry to do diddly squat.

          Liked by 1 person

        • NEO says:

          Heck, Scrooge, if they do it right, they’ll get an hour or so of overtime, to help pay Christmas bills. When I was young, we used to wrap transformer poles about halfway up with a width of flashing – we could still climb it, but the squirrels couldn’t. 🙂 Most likely it just blew the fuse, and I ain’t got any, so I guess we’ll let them handle it. 🙂

          Liked by 2 people

        • Dave Smith says:

          We have trees that are higher than the lines in the back . . . so they have no problem jumping from tree branch to power line. I guess the flashing trick won’t work in this case.

          Well wouldn’t you know, just as I was bad-mouthing my utility crew . . . they showed up and sure enough they replaced the fuse and we now have power. Way to go, boys.

          Liked by 1 person

        • NEO says:

          it still helps, but it’s not in any of the spec manuals, it was just something that we came up with. Most places now, they use silicone rubber insulation on the stinger, and that is actually better, although more expensive (well, first cost, anyway!)

          Liked by 1 person

        • Dave Smith says:

          Well if times get tough, I’ll never run out of squirrel meat if I’m living here.

          Liked by 1 person

        • NEO says:

          Yep, and pre cooked, although unevenly! 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

        • Dave Smith says:

          It’s our version of cajun blakened squirrel.

          Liked by 1 person

        • NEO says:

          Indeed 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

        • JessicaHof says:

          Neo – I am just off – but have send gmail and left something in drafts 🙂 xx

          Liked by 1 person

        • NEO says:

          🙂 Have a great evening, Milady! 🙂 xx

          Like

        • JessicaHof says:

          That’s true. I was taught that the idea was that the Senate was meant to provide an element of non-party and non-direct elected governance, thus moderating the House, but still being able to keep an eye on the President.

          Liked by 2 people

        • Dave Smith says:

          It was . . . just like the electoral colleges were to help smooth out the rough edges. But things don’t actually work out that way these days and it wouldn’t matter (in my opinion) if we elected our senators or appointed them. In fact it might be a disaster today because few people follow their state politics: federal politics has taken over the whole show. Not many show up at the polling booths for any of the state offices . . . it really is a crime that we treat our democratic privileges this way.

          Liked by 2 people

  3. NEO says:

    That’s true now, but it’s an effect of the change, until the 20th century Washington hardly impinged on anyone life, it was the state capital that mattered, mostly/

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Sadly it appears that the idea of the American Republic is broken, States rights, etc. Not to mention the teachings of the American Constitution! The Federal government is choking down the freedom of the American individual, in the name of the masses! And of course American government just gets bigger! The best of democracy must also be a republic, a state or nation where the supreme power rests in all the citizens… of the people, for the people and by the people! Where are the responsible elected representatives for this in America today?

    Liked by 2 people

    • JessicaHof says:

      That was, wasn’t it, the original idea?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Indeed back to the ‘Ad fontes’! 😉 When the original vision is lost, where do the people go?

        Liked by 2 people

        • NEO says:

          Back to the Bible, of course. After all, your quote is only attributed to Lincoln, it is actually Wycliffe’s

          Like

        • And true freedom is always centred in conscience, and of course the conscience is fallen, as NEO has reminded us, with Original Sin! But this was sadly missed to some degree with even the Jefferson deist father, i.e. Thomas. And now we have so many “Jefferson’s”!

          Like

        • ad fontes

          Contents

          1 Latin
              1.1 Etymology
              1.2 Phrase
          

          Latin
          Etymology

          Ad ‎(“to”) + fontēs, accusative plural form of fōns ‎(“fountain”, “spring”, “source”) = literally, “to the springs or sources”; probably drawn from Psalm XLI, verse 2[1] of the Latin Vulgate by Spanish humanists.[2]
          Phrase

          ad fontēs

          (idiomatic) Go to the sources: An expression emphasizing the importance of conducting fundamental research and of consulting primary sources.
          

          Usage notes

          A motto of Renaissance humanists. Similarly, the Protestant Reformation called for the return to the Bible as the primary source of Christian faith. The idea in both cases was that sound knowledge depends on the earliest and most fundamental sources.
          

          See also

          ab initio (“from the beginning”)
          

          References

          ^ Latin Vulgate Bible, Book of Psalms, Psalm 41, verse 2
            quemadmodum desiderat cervus ad fontes aquarum ita desiderat anima mea ad te Deus
          ^ Wahrheit und Methode by Hans-Georg Gadamer (1960); translated as:
          Truth and Method by an unknown translator (1989 revised English translation), page 502
          

          Like

  5. Btw, nice, very nice to see Jessica writing again… God Bless her!

    Liked by 2 people

    • JessicaHof says:

      Ah, thank you Father -good to be here – and to see you still here too 🙂 x

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, still alive and well (thanks be to God) though my youngest son, David, is in her majesty’s Royal Army (an infantry medic). So we have to live with that reality! (I had him at 46)

        Liked by 1 person

  6. the unit says:

    I guess I’ve been privileged over the last couple of years to read comments mostly and some blog articles from many…some Millers, Smiths, Coopers, Butchers, Bakers, and candle stick makers (Chandlers).
    Now JessicaHof. Pleasure to make your acquaintance. Heard lot’s of good information about you.

    Liked by 2 people

    • JessicaHof says:

      Thank you 🙂 It is good to be back – and to make your acquaintance 🙂 xx

      Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

A Paradoxical Millennial

Somewhat-alternative thoughts on Society and Culture

SupportOurLefty

Totally unconditional support for Our Lefty, i.e. Me, friends.

From the Green Notebook

My thoughts on war, warfare, and leadership

Organized Lunacy

Inspiration and motivation for every life situation.

historyxpolitics

" God cannot alter the past, though Historians can. "

Doug's Scribbles and Ramblings

The incoherent ramblings of a working class white guy.

Charlie R. Claywell

Exploring How Being American Affects My World View.

joyfullyandperfectlyhis

My life as a daughter of the King

Journey Towards Easter

Discovering the beauty of truth

My Daily Musing

With God we will gain the victory, and he will trample our enemies. Psalms 109:13

beefandsweettea.wordpress.com/

a story of Southern agriculture

An Unlikely Wanderer

God will give to the soul a new understanding of God in God, the old human understanding being cast aside – and a new love of God in God. - St. John of the Cross

Think Defence

UK Defence Issues and the odd container or two

Anglicanicons

Writing in words and pictures

The Catechesis of Caroline

A Catholic woman blogging about life

Changing Skin and other stories

Creative Writing and unfinished business...

Omaha News & World Report

Local, National, & World News; Expert Reviews, Biased Commentary, Raw Polls, & Random Musings

Shootin' the Breeze

and random targets

Joanne Begiato Muses on History

Talking through my research

nebraskaenergyobserver

The view from the Anglosphere

The Nice Thing About Strangers

Creative Non-Fiction Short Stories. :) Travel, Oldsters, Love, and Compassion.

Ye Olde Soapbox

News and Views, Stimulus for the masses

World History Blog

The view from the Anglosphere

Watcher of Weasels

Keeping an eye on the weasels of the world

Villainous Company

The view from the Anglosphere

Unedited Politics

Just Political Videos

Two Nerdy History Girls

The view from the Anglosphere

Thomas Sowell's Townhall.com Column

The view from the Anglosphere

Thin Pinstriped Line

The view from the Anglosphere

The Tree of Mamre

Politics, religion, and life. Unapologetically conservative, Christian, and iconoclastic.

The DXZone.com Amateur Radio Internet Guide

The view from the Anglosphere

%d bloggers like this: