Author`s name David Harasym

Western democracy: Coming apart at the seams

'Democracy' is a wonderful word with wonderful ideals but, in the end, we must weigh the hopes, aspirations, and dreams given to the masses against the reality. Then, we must evaluate that reality and make an objective judgment on its success.

If the benefits of democracy are, in fact, a reality for only a handful whereas the masses live in poverty, misery and drudgery, then we must seriously reconsider this political philosophy as a worthy form of government. If it doesn't 'measure up' to its promises, and remains only a 'carrot-on-a-stick', then it serves no useful purpose and will soon be added to the scrapheap of history.

Democracy was a great hope for a new type of government 'by the people', 'for the people' and 'of the people' but for Greeks — the inventors of 'democracy' - it rapidly disintegrated. The dream of equality for everyone having his/her 'say' soon gave way to the rich and powerful pushing forward and getting what they wanted while the rest sat on the sidelines looking in. Today, it appears to be repeating itself.

The proposed tenets of democracy give us a wide range of prospective freedoms including: freedom of speech, expression, the press, religion, movement, elections, rule-of-law, and basic human rights. We expect these in a democracy, but when they are diluted, twisted, convoluted, and manipulated for the benefit of a few, then 'democracy' becomes just an illusion, or simply an 'opiate' for the masses.

As the age of colonialism shrank and empires collapsed in quick succession, the UK, France, Spain, Portugal and other democracies began to see cracks in their basic structures. Retreating to their homelands, they brought with them many believers and followers. An excellent example is the UK where hundreds of thousands of colonials immigrated into major centres like London, Bradford, and Leeds building and creating ghettos replicating their own homelands.

Again, the hopes and dreams of a 'perfect life' in an integrated, new society soon evaporated when language, culture, religion, and ways of living clashed with their host country. In recent decades, widespread riots in Bradford and Leeds made international headlines and showed the UK as a country coming apart at the seams. The ideal, multi-cultural English world was not coalescing as expected.

And, today, French-army generals indicate that France is on the verge of civil war as this country is torn apart by policies of immigration and integration of colonial populations converging on the motherland from its old empire. If this process doesn't proceed in a 'controlled fashion', the overwhelmed, host country can no longer handle the influx. Turmoil, tension, chaos, and disintegration are sure to follow; hence, the political mess we see in France today.

Promotions of 'homeland' and 'wonders of democracy' were a bigger attraction than some nations imagined and soon discovered that their 'advertisements' were often too successful. A good example of this was Canada where two, world fairs (Expo '67, Expo '86) drew so many follow-up immigrants that it spawned a major problem in housing which has made Canada almost unaffordable for its long-standing residents.

In Canada, the region known as the Lower Mainland in British Columbia has drawn big-money immigrants from abroad, and now it has some of the most expensive housing in the world with no let-up in sight. Newcomers with suitcase-loads of money (of unknown origins) have driven house prices upward to unaffordable levels for its general population.

Teachers, nurses, firefighters, police, and tradesmen cannot compete with rich, foreign buyers and have been driven into the hinterland to find cheaper accommodation. And, although Canadians are mainly meek, mild Christians who 'turn the other cheek', their patience is wearing thin as the best places for living in their own country are bought up by questionable 'high-rollers' (primarily Asian) while law-abiding, hard-working 'historic citizens' who built Canada are 'kicked-to-the-curb'.

But, perhaps, most surprising of all, we see democracy's modern foundations crumbling in the US where its beacon of hope appears to be dimming. In the mid-1960s when African-Americans lashed out after 250 years of slavery — and a damaging Civil War (1860s) which failed to bring about changes required for the two races to live in peace and harmony — the country broke into deadly rioting across America.

Today, we see America being torn apart by two, political factions (Republicans, Democrats) and a disgruntled population angry at its endless wars abroad and witnessing the brutal killings of Negro-Americans by white policemen for little or no reason. Angry 'Black Lives Matter' protests have now spread across America with little sign of abating.

In the border states of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California, tens of thousands of Mexicans continue to trek over the border into America annually adding to its steady influx of economic refugees. This pernicious invasion, which Americans have not been able to stop, accounts for much of US's twelve million Mexican-Americans — many of whom remain 'undocumented aliens'.

These failings have been further exacerbated by the fact that the wealth of 1% of America's population now exceeds the wealth of the other 99% combined. Such inequality, in a country which proclaims 'equality' of its citizens as one of its basic tenets, highlights the grand illusions, and delusions, of modern-day democracy and its faltering free-market system in the Western world.

And, as these problems multiply, expand, and intensify, the hopes, dreams and prospects of Western democracy rapidly diminish