In his book Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle (2009) Chris Hedges writes;
The words consent of the governed have become an empty phrase. Our textbooks on political science and economics are obsolete. Our nation has been hijacked by oligarchs, corporations, and the narrow, selfish, political and economic elite, a small and privileged group that governs, and often steals, on behalf of moneyed interests”.
Hedges is speaking about the American situation but he could just as easily be referring to almost any country and just about any political system.
I understand that nothing is perfect and that there will always be agitation for something, but at the end of the day Governments have to deliver on the ‘important issues’. And they generally do …… sooner of later, often after some ‘persuasion’ from the governed.
The governed reacted and the Occupy Movement was born in response to the social and economic inequality in America.
Russia has issues of another kind. Recent protests are a response by the governed to what they see as a flawed election process.
Back in 1989 the mass gathering we saw in Tiananmen Square were again the governed demonstrating for economic reform.
I don’t know all the in’s and out’s of these issues, what I do know is that it angers me when I see injustice and suffering and even more so when I see others fighting for basic rights that I take for granted.
Reflecting on this weeks challenge I do have to say that I sympathise with many of the demonstrators and their causes.
Yes I’m pissed off with what has happened to my savings and the affect the Global Financial Crisis has had on my standard of living and yes I want to see the fat bonuses paid to the executives responsible replaced with justice.
I deplore the violence and destruction of property, it is counter productive, I can’t see that it does any good other than grab news headlines.
So I say ‘good on’ the activists who make their point peacefully and I say thank you to all those who have gone before promoting causes that I am now a beneficiary of.
Thank you to the feudal barons of England who rebelled against King John and left us with the enduring benefits of Magna Carta (1215). An important point in history that led to the rule of constitutional law in the English speaking world.
Thank you to Emmeline Pankhurst, leader of the British suffragette movement which helped women win the right to vote in England.
Thank you to Martin Luther King, Jr. for helping advance civil rights using nonviolent civil disobedience.
The list goes on, but thank you one and all from the complacent majority, of which I’m embarrassed to say I’m one.