Democracy is like pregnancy; you can not be half pregnant…

Just like you can not be half-pregnant, there is only one way to have democracy; democracy means “government by the people”. Representative democracy is “government by the representatives of the people”, that is not “government by the people”. It is obvious, buy most people believe representative democracy is democracy, it is not.

Representative democracy made sense as an advance regarding systems where the people do not elect those who govern. Representative democracy is an extraordinary advance over political systems where a dictator rules, a dictatorial party rules or a dictatorial religion rules, but representative democracy is not democracy.

Election of those who govern means they govern, the people do not govern, the people just vote.

It is a system that no longer makes sense; how can it make sense that we elect those who force upon us many behaviours with the laws, regulation and policies they make, but the people who elect them, to whom the politicians “serve”, can not stop or reverse any of the laws, regulations and policies the politicians force upon them?

It is ridiculous!; the people pay the salaries of the politicians, pay for all the public services, pay for everything, but all they can do is wait till the next election and vote for another group of politicians who will continue to do exactly, the same, force and control our behaviours, only in different political direction.

One group of politicians may decide to reduce taxes and reduce public services, another one may do the opposite, but in each case the people have no way to stop, reverse or come up with other alternatives; perhaps most voters want to reduce some taxes and increase other taxes, perhaps they want to reduce some public services but increase others.

Representative democracy is not democracy because the people do not govern at all, all they can do is vote to elect politicians. Government by the people means the people must be able to vote also on government actions; laws, regulations, policies, taxation, health care, etc.

But it gets worse, representative democracy is not even government by the elected officials; the reason?; in representative democracies the politicians have so much power that private organisations, like big business and business lobbies, big unions, big professional organisations and people with money soon figure out ways to influence, a lot, the politicians so that they will do what they want the politicians to do.

One obvious way is by donating lots of money to the politicians’ campaigns. This money causes “campaign budget inflation”; electoral campaigns become so expensive that no politician can refuse donations from this or that group. He or she can not because without a lot of money the campaign will not reach people to compete with other politicians.

Another way is by the big donor offering “friendly” politicians, who retire or lose elections, nice, important, prestigious and very well-paid jobs in private foundations, private universities (who also depend on rich donors), as lobbyist, etc.

This means that representative democracy is government by those elected and by those with enough money and resources that make politicians dependent on them. Sure, the politician has the formal power to pass laws, decide policies, etc., but the same politician also knows that it is important for him or her to cooperate with the powerful interests if he or she want to have other opportunities when he or she retires or loses an election.

This means that in representative democracy, the people vote but do not govern; it is false to say such a system is a democracy.

It is time the people decide representative democracy is obsolete because it is not democracy; this is why representative democracy does not work well. In reality, representative democracy is working so poorly in very important democracies, that some people are openly talking about authoritarian regimes as an alternative; sus is the discredit of representative democracy.

To ensure democracy’s survival, prosperity, civil peace, etc., we need direct democracy, now.

We know direct democracy works because the Swiss people govern themselves by direct democracy practices, and have been doing it for almost 200 years!.

While Switzerland is not a full direct democracy, it has the essential criteria of direct democracy because the people have the power, and they use it, several times each year, to stop laws, regulations and policies the politicians want to apply. They also overturn what the politicians have done, and propose and pass alternatives, even if the politicians oppose them.

Some people say: “But Switzerland is a small country, direct democracy may work in Switzerland but it can not work in a large country like Canada, the US, the UK, France, Germany, Japan, or even Russia, China, etc”.  This argument makes as much sense as saying: “representative democracy may work in Wester countries because of the Ancient Greeks, the mother culture of Europe, but in other cultures”; how about Japan, India, South Korea, etc.?

Representative democracy is present in large and small countries all over the World, so are authoritarian regimes. Direct democracy is the next step for representative democracy. But do not fool yourself, you will have to press for it because neither the politicians you elect, nor the various groups with direct influence over the politicians want direct democracy. The reason is clear, both will lose power or money, or both.

The Swiss had to press for the switch from representative democracy to direct democracy, the rest of have to do it too. Tired of the politicians? Do something to bring direct democracy. “You pay, your decide, not just vote”.

Remember; saying: “we have representative democracy” is like saying: “I am half pregnant”-

Victor Lopez

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