Every day, we hear or read about the evils of countries where democracy is severely curtailed: the damage done to the general population, along with the great number of destroyed lives.
Then, with a shaking of our heads, we utter sympathetic noises about how we can be thankful that we don’t have that here.
This begs the question: what is democracy? My computer dictionary puts it this way: a system of government by the whole population for all the eligible members of a state, typically through elected representatives.
Of course, the opposite of democracy then, would be a dictatorship, which is defined as an authoritarian form of government, characterized by a single leader or group of leaders, with either no party or a weak party, which then translates into rules and regulations by which the country is run at the whim of the ruler.
In this fair land, we often celebrate the fact that we live in a true democracy. But do we really? If we do live in such a democracy, why are more and larger groups of citizens left feeling marginalized, or just plain left out or squeezed out of mainstream society?
To answer that, we have to go back to the Constitution and its definitions of rights and freedoms, which we feel we are entitled to because of what is written there. Rights such as the right to express ourselves freely and without recrimination, or the right of religious freedom.
For sure, we have to respect the viewpoints and beliefs of others and their right to express them, but in my reading of the Constitution, nowhere does it say I must protect the other person’s feelings, just their rights.
Nor does it suggest that as a minority group, that right includes pressuring the government to enact laws that enforce their way of thinking or living.
To prevent a ruling from being labelled dictatorial, the rulers circumvent that harsh judgment by pointing out a group that is receiving public money to keep them going, when they will not, or conscientiously cannot, consent to the ruler’s way of thinking.
As a result, their funds can be cut off. The only problem is that the group being penalized is a taxpaying member of that same society, so this is not democracy, it’s blackmail.
This then makes me ask: “What right does a democratic government have to demand a specific way of thinking when we have no rights left to object, based on the other freedom that our Constitution supposedly gives us, but have already been legislated as wrong?”
Am I alone on this; am I the only one who feels that I have been robbed of my rights and freedoms?
Any time a democratic society is governed by manipulative legislation, one must ask, “do we still have a true democracy?”
Many of the folks on the street feel ostracized from society because of rules and regulations that have been legislated that they felt they were unable to comply with.
An old movie about a comedic mafia group used the phrase: “Ya does it my way, or I cuts ya off.”
It was funny in that movie, where it was spoken with that East Coast gangster accent, but it is now being used by governments to dictatorially control their people (without benefit of a cute accent), and quite seriously folks, it is no longer funny.
So, if a democracy is a government for the people, by the people, then what does it say about them if they dictate to themselves: “Ya does it my way, or I cuts ya off”?
This, to me, smacks of a dictated democracy.
Chris Salomons is a retired Red Deer resident with a concern for the downtrodden.