Monday, October 17, 2005

Democracy is for the apathetic

After watching the results of this weekend's vote on the Iraqi Constitution, I'm convinced that the only reason American Democracy works here in the melting pot of the world is because we are also the apathetic class of the world.

No I don't believe all Americans are lazy non-caring individuals without causes or beliefs. But what I do believe is that the majority of Americans take democracy so much for granted that they've adopted a "Whatever" mentality that is in part responsible for making our democracy work.


Let's compare with Iraq. Yesterday, the following was reported with regard to the Iraqi vote:
...there were signs that some powerful Sunni factions would not accept the referendum results. Several Sunni leaders said they were convinced the charter would be defeated in three Sunni provinces, and accused the U.S. of interfering with the results. We are warning the Sunni community of acts of fraud, Saleh al-Mutlaq, a Sunni leader, told Al-Jazeera TV. ... it might lead to civil war.
There are two key revelations in this statement. First, regardless of the outcome, it is important to note that many in newly attempted democracies believe in Democracy only when their side is victorious in the vote. If their side loses the vote, then the democratically achieved results do not deserve to be accepted - they must be fraudulent. Secondly, unacceptable results, or the "belief" of fraud, leads to armed civil uprising, or civil war.

Compare this to the United States in 2000 when fewer than 50% of eligible voters turned out, tampering with the vote was proven, and the final "decision" was handed down by a split Court along partisan lines. Even those who were vehemently opposed to the outcome accepted it - whether they said they did or not. The mere act of civil obedience signifies acceptance. We didn't like the results, didn't agree with them but we got back in line and let George W. be sworn in as president.

It's important to note, that the losing 50% of the 50% who voted didn't revolt. It's not that we don't care. It's just that, well... whatever.

Yet in Iraq, the Shias, Sunnis and Kurds may never get along - nor accept any outcome that is not in their favor. And they are willing to fight each other over it. Not very democratic.

Maybe if we could just teach them all to care a little less, they'd be able to become a model democracy - just like us. Then our troops wouldn't be in the middle of this mess, and, well..




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