Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Vote for Pedro

Wednesday, 15 September 2010 - Unlike many human beings, North Americans have lived their lives in a mostly just, mostly open, mostly accepting, mostly responsive society. For us there are so many things that are taken for granted and for which we rarely give much thought or thanks. Take democracy for an example.  Democracy is what gives each and every one of us (over the age of 18) the right to vote, to express our opinions, and to have a say in how we will be governed. This is a luxury that so many countries do not afford it's citizens. Can you imagine living under the regime of the Nazi's? And what if you happened to not only live under a Nazi government, but also happened to be Jewish? It was today in 1935 that the Nuremburg Laws took away citizenship to all German Jews. That same day the Nazi flag (swaztika and all) was adopted as the new German flag.

Turn on the television set, and we get bombarded with ads for this bill and that bill. We get told how this candidate did Debbie, and that candidate drinks shaving lotion, but at least we get to choose. Ok, so there isn't always a lot to choose from, but still you get to put an X in a box that corresponds to your opions, beliefs, values, and fetishes. Nazi Germany may be gone, but there are still hundreds of countries that don't believe the citizens should have a say, and often times, even have a value (unless of course they have gold fillings... then they are worth $1267.81 per ounce).

In 2008, the United Nations decreed that September 15 shall be International Day of Democracy. The preamble to the decree reads as follows:
while democracies share common features, there is no single model of democracy and that democracy does not belong to any country or region...
democracy is a universal value based on the freely-expressed will of people to determine their own political, economic, social and cultural systems, and their full participation in all aspects of life.
The point of such a day is to promote the role of parliaments as a key to democracy and all that democracy promotes, and to encourage Governments to celebrate democracy and newly formed democracies. It is not the point of the day for countries to invade other countries and force democracy upon them. That would be wholly undemocratic. Surely there are parts of - say - the Middle East that could benefit from a democratic system of some kind, but I doubt the West would be the best to deliver that message. If you tape a note to a bomb, the note burns up too. That is just simple physics. But now if there is oil in them there hills, you might want to not only create a democracy, but also build up a really good relationship with the newly elected. Perhaps you could provide support payments for parliament and help to solidify that good relationship. Then, when negotiating for oil, it would be a little like negotiating for alimony. There is something parliamentarians know all about.

Today is also the start of National Hispanic Heritage Month.  Yes, the month begins on the 15th of September and ends on the 15th of October. It's just like a month, only different. Maybe that's how the Mexicans do things. Or perhaps, it has to do with living on Latin time. They had every intention of starting National Hispanic Heritage Month on September 1st, but just didn't get around to it until today. Ok, the real reason September 15 was chosen is because September 15, 1821 is the day that five Latin American countries all declared independence. Mexico - true to form - followed a little late, and declared independence on the 16th. To celebrate, show up late.

You may or may not agree with any of this post, but the real beautiful thing about living in a democracy - writers can write anything they want. Readers can read anything they want. If you have read this far, and are seething, that is ok.  If you have read this far and agree, that is ok too. There is a place to post comments underneath this post, and you can post anything you like in response to these words. Isn't freedom and democracy a good thing?

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