Democracy and disillusionment

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Well, friends, dear Neo is back, and safe and sound from his trip across these United States; whatever the disadvantages of air travel, it sure has one big plus – time (and usually money too). 2016 will be an election year in the USA, and since that’s Neo’s province, I’ll let him cover it as and when he’s ready. I’d like to thank you all for your forbearance with me, and leave you with a few political thoughts to pave the way for ‘business as usual’ (though I shall be back).

Across the Western world democracy is under threat – not from other ideologies (though there are such) but from its own imperfections.. In order to win votes, politicians have promised things, things which they have been unable to deliver, and things which they must have known at the time were undeliverable. Raised hopes get you into office, failure to meet them can get you unelected and the next guy comes along and repeats the trick. The net result is disillusionment. Aristotle warned that one of the results of a democratic constitution would be that demagogues would outbid each other to bribe the people with other people’s money; what he failed to foresee was that they would eventually bribe them with their own money.

It sometimes seems that politics is all about economics, but most economic decisions are political ones in the end – and politics is about vision – which is one reason Obama became President. His main Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, offered a kind of bureaucratic efficiency (despite having no record in that area), where Obama offered an uplifting message of ‘hope’. But what do you do when hopes are dashed? Ruling, General de Gaulle used to say, is choosing. Once in office, people generally find it harder to govern than they imagined, and the room for initiatives is far less than they imagined in the heady irresponsibility of opposition.

Here in the UK, the Conservative Party defied the pollsters and won an outright victory, but I doubt even Mr Cameron thought it was because of enthusiasm for his message. It was largely a negative result – that is too few people could see the Labour leader as Prime Minister, the Labour Party lost nearly all its seats in Scotland, and the electoral system ensured that despite getting millions of votes, the UK Independence Party failed to win more than one seat. There was no ringing endorsement of the Conservatives, more a resigned recognition that in times of austerity it was better to stick with nurse for fear of finding something worse. It is fashionable in the UK to say that the new and very left-wing Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, hasn’t a cat in hell’s chance of winning the next election, and I daresay fashion has it right. But his anti-politics as usual message is putting together a coalition of the discontented and the young, and depending on what happens on the political front in the next four years, it could be one which gathers momentum.

Mr Corbyn is a mirror image, politically, of Donald J Trump, but they are both products of a discontent with a ruling elite which seems out of touch with anything but its own interests. Both men appeal to a wider sense of what politics is about, and both seek to draw in those who feel disenchanted and disenfranchised. There the parallel ends. Donald J Trump appeals to an older vision of America and rejects political-correctness, whilst Mr Corbyn is painfully politically correct – it will be interesting to see which vision gains traction in this year.

But for millions of us, it still seems as though whatever is going on in politics is primarily about political elites positioning themselves for power. For all the insurgent rhetoric, Donald J Trump is hardly everyman, and for all his talk about ‘the people’, Mr Corbyn comes from a comfortable middle-class background and has never had a job outside politics. The more they talk of change, the more we count our tea-spoons!

Happy New Year to us all!

 

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About JessicaHof
Anglican Christian, evangelist, survivor, grateful

22 Responses to Democracy and disillusionment

  1. NEO says:

    Reminds me that an old friend of ours said it almost as well as you dearest friend. 🙂 xx

    In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all,
    By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul;
    But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy,
    And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “If you don’t work you die.”

    Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew
    And the hearts of the meanest were humbled and began to believe it was true
    That All is not Gold that Glitters, and Two and Two make Four
    And the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more.

    As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man
    There are only four things certain since Social Progress began.
    That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,
    And the burnt Fool’s bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire;

    And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
    When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
    As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,
    The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!

    Liked by 1 person

    • JessicaHof says:

      🙂 xx

      Liked by 1 person

      • NEO says:

        🙂 xx

        Like

  2. Not long ago Jeremy Corbyn was defending the statements of that anti-Semite Anglican rector, Stephen Sizer… simply amazing! I have come to hate politics! Now I simply trust a sovereign God! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • JessicaHof says:

      Very wise Father!

      Like

      • Yes, and now I will let my little brother vote in the American political system! And btw, he does not like Trump! (Thank God!) 😉

        Liked by 1 person

        • Good old Aristotle! According to the Encyclopædia Britannica, “Aristotle was the first genuine scientist in history … [and] every scientist is in his debt.”

          Liked by 1 person

        • JessicaHof says:

          As is every political theorist 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

        • But where are the Aristotelian’s today? 😉

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Back to NEO, I am watching the American New Years Day re-runs of the old A-Team (cable), with good old boys: George Peppard (who was an American Marine, 1946-48), and Dwight Schultz; and Schultz’s daughter is a Marine herself!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Schultz is a conservative and a Christian and in 2012 began regular appearances on The Glazov Gang, an internet political talk show hosted by Jamie Glazov, the managing editor of FrontPage Magazine. He also posts political commentaries and podcasts on his official fansite.

      Like

      • Btw another tidbit, both Schultz and Dirk Benedict met their wife’s on the A-Team, both women had roles there. Benedict is older (70) than Schultz who is 68. Aye I love the 1980’s (83-87) A-Team! But I sure do miss old George Peppard, died in 1994 at only 65. He was a heavy smoker. Whatever ya do, don’t smoke!

        Liked by 2 people

        • JessicaHof says:

          I don’t, my daddy died of a smoking-related disease, so I never go near the things 🙂 xx

          Like

        • I don’t smoke either, but my wife did, and suffers from COPD. Thankfully she quit in 2000, and it appears to be under control right now, but some damage is done sadly! But her beauty is still there, both inside and out! She is a natural toe-head and blue-eyed like me, but she has been a red-head for several years now. 😉 Her hair is down to her low back! Yes this old Irishman loves long hair in a woman!

          *Btw too, I think we already know that NEO loves women also! 😉

          Liked by 1 person

        • RIP to your dear Father Jessica! Can you share his first name?

          Like

        • JessicaHof says:

          HIs first name was Thomas.

          Like

        • NEO says:

          Yep, and if memory serves, Peppard was one of my fellow Boilers as well! As for smoking, I did better than 2 packs a day for 40 years, and switched a few years ago to an electronic vapoizer, best move I ever made, feel about 15 years younger, and only cough when I have a cold now, and they’re rarer as well. Stupid habit and very hard to break.

          Like

        • Yes Peppard was a “boilermaker” an East Coast boy, born in Detroit, MI… ‘During 1948 and 1949, he studied Civil Engineering at Purdue University where he was a member of the Purdue Playmakers theatre troupe and Beta Theta Pi fraternity. He then transferred to Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie Mellon University) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in 1955. He also trained at the Pittsburgh Playhouse. In addition to acting, Peppard was a pilot. He spent a portion of his 1966 honeymoon training to fly his Learjet in Wichita, Kansas’. (Wiki)

          Liked by 1 person

    • NEO says:

      Hah! Father, whatever would have given you that idea? 🙂 Especially ginger Welshwomen, got to watch them, though, they’ll steal your soul! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Aye, but what a way to go! 😉

        Liked by 1 person

        • NEO says:

          Aye! 🙂

          Like

  4. the unit says:

    Been great having JessicaHof around while you gone. And she promises to be back too.
    And WOW. Whoiy Mackerel Neo, what a hearing gift I got for Christmas. You may remember I was always mentioning that my laptop volume was to low for me to hear well on lots of audio links.
    That excuse is over. Daughter came in today from Christmas trip and showed me about her gift to me of headphones. I now have to turn down volume, and base and treble is perfect (and one side is made for conservative ear and one for left ear, how did they know?…:)
    PhAint, Hooray!

    Liked by 1 person

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