Monday, May 29, 2023

#149 / Democracy Defined


Columnist Joe Mathews has some comments on Gavin Newsom's "Campaign for Democracy." Mathews more or less copies what Gandhi said about "Western Civilization." Gandhi is reported to have said, when asked about "Western Civilization," that he thought it would be a good idea

Mathews, similarly, claims that "Gov. Gavin Newsom is doing a good thing by launching 'Campaign for Democracy.'" The only problem, Mathews says, is that "what he's campaigning for is not democracy." 

Mathews defines democracy as follows: 

"Democracy is everyday people governing themselves."
If you click this link (Mercury News), or this one (San Francisco Chronicle), it may be that one of those newspapers' protective paywalls will let you slip by to read the entirety of what Mathews has to say. Let me just provide you with the essence of Mathews' commentary: 

Newsom’s campaign has little to do with the vital business of getting together with your neighbors to practice self-government. The governor instead is leading a large national media campaign to confront the sins of politicians with whom he disagrees... If Newsom wanted an effort worthy of the name “Campaign for Democracy,” he’d pursue a new constitution that provides universal suffrage and restores the power of local communities to determine their own fates (emphasis added).
I'm with Gandhi (and Mathews), but let me say that "democracy" is not something that a Governor (or a government) can "give you." 
If you want "democracy," if you want ordinary people to "govern themselves," if you really believe in "self-government," then ordinary people will have to take the power of government away from those who currently claim it (including Governor Newsom).
If you want "self-government," you will just have to get involved yourself!

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