Democracy-Government by the People (that agree with me) or I can shoot them.

That would seem to encapsulate the conservative definition of democracy whether talking about about establishing democracy in the middle east or right here at home, in the good old U.S. of A.

To be fair, when the world was first used to describe a form of government (Think ancient Athens and Rome), democracy was defined as simply “rule by the people”. You could say that the entire concept relied on the collective intelligence and consciousness of the population to define what was right and wrong, legal an illegal for their society. This is as opposed to, say a Monarchy: Government by a single ruler. Or Oligarchy: Government by few persons (the elite).  It wasn’t until the Age of Enlightment (17th/18th centuries), when philosophers defined the essential elements of democracy: separation of powers, basic civil rights / human rights, religious liberty and separation of church and state.

This seems to be where political conservatives in America start to have a hard time with the concept of democracy. Especially those last three concepts. Separation of Church and State. Basic Civil Rights/ Human Rights. Religious Liberty. Boy, those are toughies.

Pointing out the first concept isn’t hard. Everybody from Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck to John Boehner can’t get enough of telling us that America was established as a “Christian Nation”. To an extent that is true, most if not all of “The Founding Fathers” were at least nominally Christian. They didn’t come from Jewish countries or Muslim countries and they probably weren’t even aware of Shinto countries or Buddhist countries. By the same standard you could say that America was established as an English Nation or a Spanish Nation or French, or German, …well you get the idea. That is where The Founding Fathers were from after all. No, what the Founding fathers sought to establish was a nation made up of people that were absolutely free to seek spiritual guidance in there own hearts and as long as that spiritual belief did not impinge on any one other persons freedom to seek there own spiritual beliefs, it was pretty much okay. Grasping that concept, we can segue into the other concepts…

Basic Civil/Human Rights. this seems to be a very hard concept for conservatives to grasp. At this very moment in the ‘Great State of South Dakota’ there is a bill before the legislature that redefine homicide. Specifically, it would make killing an Abortion Provider justifiable homicide. Just to clarify this a bit, since The U.S. Supreme Court handed down the decision in Roe vs. Wade, abortion has been legal in this country. The Court decided that a right to privacy under the due process clause in the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution extends to a woman’s decision to have an abortion, but that right must be balanced against the state’s two legitimate interests for regulating abortions: protecting prenatal life and protecting the mother’s health. Now South Dakota is actually willing to consider a bill preempting a woman’s protection under the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution as well as the doctors right to life.  Democracy at the point of a gun? Apparently the conservative population in South Dakota truly believes in Democracy as defined in ancient Athens and Rome and not the definition after the Age of Enlightenment. I’d like to point out to those conservatives that ancient Rome also allowed crucifixion and in ancient Athens they could fill your ears with molten lead for disagreeing with the population.

Now, lets take this show on the road. I think we have all heard by now of the popular uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia and the call for Democratic reforms, both my those being beaten and killed in Tahir square, and nations around the world. Yet, there is no shortage of conservative politicians and commentators ready to warn that we are libel to end up with a Muslim ruled country where we had ‘benevolent’ dictators before. Glenn Beck has come right out and said, in effect, that the uprising in Egypt is “orchestrated by the Marxist Communists and the Muslim Brotherhood,” I guess Democratic reforms can only be enacted by South Dakotans in Becks book. Only staunch Christian Americans can be  “the people” in “rule by the people”. And in yet more fear mongering, Monica Crowley on this weekend’s McLaughlin Group went on to express the same, saying “that the only Arab democracy that we currently have in the region is the one built by the United States in Iraq.” So Democracy at the point of an AMERICAN gun is the ideal? By the way, how’s Iraq working out for you?

I’d like to remind Beck, O’Reilly, Limbaugh ,Crowley , Fox News and others that even if restricted to the antiquated and incomplete definition of Democracy being ‘Rule of The People’ that ‘the people’ are also the ones  who may disagree with  and thank god,  you don’t have a right to shoot them for disagreeing or being different. They are being protected by the constitutional laws of the United States,. And in  the middle east, those people aren’t White Christians, nor do they listen to your shows and your talking heads on TV’s.  It is very unlikely that their democracy will be made up of White Christians and even less likely they’ll be South Dakotan. But they are still entitled to their Democracy, their rule of the people, lets hope they institute basic civil rights / human rights, religious liberty and a kind of freedom you’d take away.  I’d also like to remind you that they have lived for decades under dictatorships and autocracies at the point of a gun, and they aren’t apt to accept your version of Democracy at the point of one either. And that is the….

The Dirty Lowdown


About DirtyLowdown
I was born in Pomona, California at a very young age. I had a pretty normal childhood…or I was a pretty normal child hood if mom is telling the story. I was a paperboy who always porched , usually on the subscribers porch. I washed cars and bussed tables which left me with a life time affliction of chapped lips. I was a soda fountain jock-jerk and a manic mechanic but my first real job was as a labor organizer in a maternity ward. Then, because of the misjudgment of a judge I spent nearly 10 years in the service of our country mostly on KP duty. Our country sure turns out a lot of dirty dishes. I am a past master at pots and pans. They eventually recognized my real talent and let me wander around some very unfriendly places carrying a big radio that didn’t work. Along the way I took up the bass guitar, jotting down stories, electronic engineering and earned a degree in advanced criminal activities. I spent most of my adult life, if you can call it that, working in the I.T. industry, which I was particularly suited for since we worked in rooms with no windows. On and off I taught in colleges, universities and reform schools as a student teacher… I like smog, traffic, kinky people, car trouble, noisy neighbors, and crowded seedy bars where I have been known to quote Raymond Chandler as pickup lines. I have always been a voracious reader, everything from the classics, to popular fiction, history to science but I have a special place in my heart for crime fiction, especially hard-boiled detective fiction and noir. I write a book and music review blog for all genres at The Dirty Lowdown and another dedicated to Crime Fiction and all things Noir called Crimeways. It’s named after the magazine that appeared in the Kenneth Fearing classic, The Big Clock. There I write scholarly reviews of the classic hard boiled, noir and crime fiction books from the 20's through today. Mostly I drool over the salacious pictures on the covers. I also write for Technorati/BlogCritics where I am part of a sinister cabal of superior writers.

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