The Will of the People


Luther elections have come and gone, and we now have a new duly elected Student Representative Council. I wish them the best of luck, not that it really matters. The teachers make all the real decisions. On the other hand, that may not be a bad thing. The real key to getting elected is popularity, not competence, and it is hard to have both. Apart from the teachers, we have a pretty good representation of the real elective process.

The main thing different about governmental elections is that they have issues. These are topics that the different parties have different approaches to, and which, in theory, are used by the public to decide whom to vote for. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to work very well. Politicians often don't keep the promises they made in order to get elected, usually with good reason. People, like sheep, tend to follow wherever they are led. Because of this, propaganda campaigns are turning up in all kinds of places. I haven't heard of a way to put ads in people's dreams yet, but it's probably only a matter of time. Even if you work your way past all this and find out what the parties really plan to do, I doubt that you will find one that you actually agree with. What matters in politics is not what happens in the end, but the short-term gain, because that is what gets someone re-elected.

Now, I am not saying that I am opposed to democracy. It works better than any other system of government that I know of, or at least here in Canada it does. The secret, I think, is that nobody has the power to do any real lasting harm. I have not seen any other government with this property. Communism, as envisioned by Karl Marx, has never been successfully set up, and probably never will be, as it depends on people not noticing that effort is not rewarded. The variants that have been tried always turn out to be ruled by a dictator, or the General Secretary of the Communist Party, which is basically the same thing. Fascism is just as bad, having no rights for the working class of checks on the power of the employers. Although a lot of wealth is produced, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Most dictatorships manage to combine the worst element of both, and generally destroy the economy in the process. As things stand, a representative democracy may not be a perfect form of government, but it's the best we have, so it will have to do.

If that was all we had to worry about, it wouldn't be too bad, but, unluckily for us, there is a bit of a problem. Democracy is fragile. It needs people to pay attention to what's happening and stop things that shouldn't. It needs individuals to make sacrifices now for the sake of a better future for all. It needs voters who really think about things instead of just believing what they hear. It needs citizens who care. Freedom isn't easy, is it worth it?

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