India and the United States are the world's largest democracies with one other main thing in common: In the end they aren't very democratic...with governments plagued by inefficiency, factional fighting, waste, corruption, and most of all being out of touch with everyday people. The reality is democracy is best suited to smaller nations.
Cast, religion and regional ethnicity divide India, a nation set to overtake China as the most populous country. America, while not as demographically complicated, is also divided...between Red States and Blue States, progressive and conservative. Oh yes, the largest single block of voters are described as MOR (middle of the road), but they're dispersed through the entire nation. Yet, they're the most prized group during election years.
The next US presidential election is more than year away and as usual, the campaign has already begun, but with President Obama showing his lowest poll numbers. Yet, much of the hoopla and fanfare associated with past campaigns may be minimal this time around. The voters are slowly realizing, through their own personal declining economies, that the US government isn't working for their best interest and that no politician seems to have the answers as to how the economy can be rebuilt.
To have a working and practical democracy there has to be an effective and intelligent opposition to the party in power. And this is what many people now find most worrying. There isn't an effective opposition leaving the voters with little choice.
There's President Obama, who promised much but is delivering little and the Republicans, who seem to be composed of rather unsophisticated, almost brain-dead wannabes who, as with many of their liberal opposites, are living in a fantasy world of their own desires. In fact its difficult to recall a poorer field of GOP candidates.
Ever since the post-Civil War years the GOP has been the party of business and industry, with its HQ not in Washington, but on Wall Street. Yet, after Watergate, with party's reputation destroyed, it re-branded itself as the party of God and American family values, with an emphasis on states' rights. This proved to be a good ploy that eventually divided the nation between red and blue states.
But most amazing aspect of the GOP is how its leaders maintain mind-defying dogma in defiance of science and common sense, but in line the beliefs of its core voters and Fox News.
This fact has been brought to the forefront of the new campaign by a collection of has-beens and would-be presidents with two things in common: The private sector, not the government, will fix the economy and global warming is all BS.
With Michelle Bachmann once again embarrassing herself, this time by celebrating Elvis Presley's death day as his birthday, the new right-wing front-runner has to be Texas Gov. Rick Perry. I mean if you thought GW Bush was rather rustic, this guy makes him look like Cole Porter.
Aside from calling the Federal Reserve chairman a traitor and threatening him with violence if he ever visited Texas, Perry clings to the fantasy that our patriotic private sector if allowed to get to work will create jobs and mend the economy...this is from a state with the lowest wages and highest convict execution rate in the country. The private sector he's talking about number some of the same firms that are relocating all over the world from Mexico to China to hire cheap labor and develop new markets.
Foremost among these is Halliburton, which is holed-up in tax-free Dubai...close to its billion dollar Middle East operations that GW made possible.
The main Problem with strongly held political dogma on the right or left is that true believers refuse to modify their faith in the light of changing circumstances. They may re-brand themselves, but they won't or can't face a new reality.
And the new reality America is facing is the power and effect of the global market, to which Ronald Reagan attached us and every president since has supported. This is the main reason the right and left, Democrats and Republicans, can't come up with answers, or won't tell us the truth, about the country's future. They support the free market.
President Obama again has mentioned his desire to create jobs here through massive public works projects. And this is one of his many yet unfulfilled campaign promises. On this site I suggested solving the nation's drought problem by constructing a northeast to southwest aqueduct. Yet some GOP politicians will quickly condemn the idea as being too costly and unaffordable. To this we can answer: If we can afford two wars and troops stations all over the world, we can certainly afford to maintain our country at home.
A lot of this, of course, is based on a politician's shelf life, his term in office. This is where liberals and conservatives meet...their limited concern and vision, if any, for the future. They tend to be concerned with the here and now. Yet, the future is where you and your children will live.
Americans are waking up to the fact the economy isn't the only thing in trouble here. Without an effective opposition to hold a government accountable through constructive criticism and offering better ideas, a democracy will eventually die.
The 2012 election will probably see Obama reelected mainly because there's no decent candidate to stand against him. Yet, the outcome will also indicate how sophisticated, unsophisticated or desperate the electorate is.