Tomorrow, March the 7th, the Swiss people will decide many things that in other countries only politicians decide.
The Swiss will decide issues at the local, the cantonal (cantons are like states of provinces in federal countries), and also at the national level.
At the national level the Swiss tomorrow will decide if they accept the digital identity card, they will also decide if they approve a commercial treaty between Switzerland and Indonesia, and they will permit if burkas in public spaces.
The people will decide with a referendum; the three issues will be on the ballot.
For the past few months Swiss voters interested in those issues will read about the advantages and disadvantages of voting “yes” or “no”. They will read about the pros and cons of each issue. On many radio and TV programs they will also hear about the issues, they will listen and watch debates, they may even attend or take part in debates.
Many will also discuss the referendum with family, friends and co-workers.
By discussing which way to vote in the family, the children also learn of the great power and responsibility their parents have as voters, and they learn to use it themselves when they reach the age to vote; it is a level of voter power and responsibility unmatched in the World.
In quality of democracy, no other nation today comes close to the Swiss; never mind some ridiculous democracy rankings that place several representative democracies ahead of Switzerland in democratic quality.
Democracy means “rule by the people”; how can any other country be ahead in democratic quality of the only country on Earth where the people, besides having the power to elect their politicians, they also have the power to stop the politicians; yes, the Swiss people can stop the executive and parliament on any issue the people decide they should decide.
Swiss voters can kill a law approved by the Swiss parliament, they can also create laws and change the Constitution, and do not need the support or consent of the politicians.
Swiss politicians stop the Swiss people, but the Swiss people can stop the politicians. The politicians can not impose any law or policy on the people if most of the people decide to reject the law or policy.
Even if the executive and the legislative agree on an issue, their will can not prevail over the will of the Swiss people.
The people can also raise issues that must go a national referendum; the government can not stop a referendum. Much less can the Swiss government ignore the results of popular referendums; Swiss law states referendums are mandatory.
It is interesting also that the Swiss government can not call referendums or plebiscites. As you know, in some countries the government can decide to put an issue to a referendum, but does not mean the government has to obey the results.
This is the big difference between the Swiss system of direct democracy and representative “democracy” which in fact it is not democracy. Switzerland is a direct democracy because the people have more power than the elected politicians.
This is what all democracies should be, but representative democracies are not. In representative democracies it is the opposite; the politicians have much more power than the people.
So, tomorrow, the Swiss people will decide if there will be and electronic ID in Switzerland, if the Swiss will sign a trade treaty with Indonesia and if people can walk around in public with their faces covered.
That is the key reason why the Swiss are not tired of the politicians the way people in representative democracies are. They are not tired because Swiss politicians can not do things that the people do not support. If voters in representative democracies had more power than the politicians they elect, they would not be “tired” of them either; it is the power, stupid!
When we are tired of our politicians it is because the politicians do things we do not want them do, but they do them anyway.
For example, in representative democracies, politicians could sign a treaty with Indonesia, could decide that burkas are allowed in public, or could impose electronic ID, and the people have no power to stop them; other than disagree, get angry, demonstrate or become “tired of politicians”.
Ask yourself, and ask your politicians: “why can’t we, the voters, decide issues in our countries like the Swiss do? Are the Swiss special, or are we dumb?
While we stay fed up with our politicians, the Swiss people will continue to be the essential decision-makers on key issues.
The beauty of the Swiss system is that the people decide; nothing can be more democratic.
Because it is real democracy at work, the people who lose the referendums have no problem accepting the orderly, rational, decision of the majority. They do because they are democrats. For true democrats, there is no higher authority than the people. There can not be, because democracy “is rule by the people”.
Having issues decided by the people at the ballot box ensures that those who lose accept the results. It is obvious this is a much better system than politicians deciding in committees, and in secretive discussions with lobbies and pressure groups.
So, remember that the next time you get “tired” (frustrated) with your politicians; it is because they have more power than the people. It is because representative democracy is no democracy. I would not say is “fake democracy”, but I can understand it looks like that to more and more voters.
It is time to make the transition from representative “democracy” to democracy (direct democracy, the only democracy).