Monday, May 12, 2014

Has Democracy come Full Circle?

Yesterday’s referendums in Donetsk and Lugansk, two regions of eastern Ukraine, garnered affirmative votes of over eighty percent, yet they have been dismissed as ‘illegal’ and ‘irrelevant’ by the foremost representatives of modern democracy: France, the land of the Rights of Man and the Citizen, Britain, the land of the Magna Carta from which all subsequent Anglo-American constitutions take their inspiration, and the United States, whose Constitution stands as the epitome of democracy, all of which were inspired by ancient Athenian ‘democracy’.

These documents sanctified the power of ‘the people’ (however diversely defined), and specifically, the notion of majority rule.  They established the inalienable right of citizens to rule them-selves, the principle of free choice and the primacy of law. Nowhere, however, is the primacy of law placed above the principle of majority rule or the right of citizens to reject an illegal government.  

Since the beginning of the remotely-controlled events in Ukraine, the hallowed notion of ‘Western Democracy’ has been tarnished as never before - all the more easily that few American pro-gressives bothered to condemn their government’s continuing military support for an Egyptian military regime that toppled an elected president last year.

Marxists claim that democracy is an illusion, while men of good will ever ready to come to the aid of their country continue to believe that nothing better has yet been found. These latter need to stand and be counted now, for the inalienable right of the people of Ukraine to determine their own future, a right that cannot be denied in the name of man-made laws.  As written by Thomas Jefferson, ME 1:29, Papers 1:315,  our Declaration of Independence reads: 

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with inherent and inalienable rights; that among these, are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.”

Americans have lived with their democracy for over two hundred years, plenty of time for it to be distorted via campaign contributions and lobbyists.  Ukrainians, on the other hand, have been told for decades that they should aspire to democracy, which they undoubtedly see more as the Athenian kind than the C Street kind.  In a less distorted world, they would be congratulated for their initiative.  Or should I say a more advanced world, that would have constitutions like that of Ecuador, that guarantees the people’s right to hold referenda.

Much has been made recently of America’s double-standard when it comes to Russia. If Washington and its ever obedient allies, who should know better, go so far as to deny democracy’s fundamental rights to the citizens of Ukraine, they will be sending the so-called ‘civilized world’ back to pre-Athenian antiquity. And they would make Putin right to call the collapse of the Soviet Union the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the century.

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