Do the Peo­ple Al­ways De­serve the Gov­ern­ment They Elected?

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL -

Ithink it was Dag Ham­marskjold, the sec­ond Sec­re­tary Gen­eral of the United Na­tions from 1953 to 1961, who said that the demo­cratic vote in the hands of il­lit­er­ate masses can be more ex­plo­sive than the atomic bomb. I had for many years de­bated this view, think­ing as I did, that the diplo­mat was sar­cas­ti­cally re­fer­ring to emerg­ing colonies in Africa and else­where seek­ing po­lit­i­cal in­de­pen­dence. These for­mer colonies had not yet de­vel­oped a cul­ture of peace­ful demo­cratic change of gov­ern­ments, hence the cyn­i­cal ref­er­ence to the demo­cratic vote.

That vote in the hands of peo­ple who feel marginal­ized and for­got­ten can be just as ex­plo­sive and un­pre­dictable as was proven on Novem­ber 8, in the US. White, poor, and marginal­ized men and women proved as pow­er­ful a weapon of change as Dag Ham­marskjold en­vi­sioned for the third world. Un­for­tu­nately, the power of the vote can also be used by a racist dem­a­gogue to arouse feel­ings of fear (and ha­tred?), by whites against blacks and mi­nori­ties. Any­one who fol­lowed the US elec­tions ob­jec­tively must have con­cluded that Donald Trump pressed the right but­tons to arouse an an­gry ma­jor­ity white vote against the Washington es­tab­lish­ment. The ques­tion is, can Trump bring back lost jobs to coal min­ers and marginal­ized ru­ral white folks in the USA? Can he build a great wall?

As I con­tem­plated this let­ter I re­ceived the fol­low­ing mes­sage from a friend, who had him­self bor­rowed from the Amer­i­can jour­nal­ism icon H. L. Mencken: “As democ­racy is per­fected, the of­fice of the Pres­i­dent rep­re­sents, more and more closely, the in­ner soul of the peo­ple. On some great and glo­ri­ous day, the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s de­sire at last, and the White House will be oc­cu­pied by a down­right fool and com­plete nar­cis­sis­tic mo­ron.”

Then con­sider the fol­low­ing, al­legedly spo­ken in 1998 by Donald Trump to Peo­ple magazine. “If I were to run, I’d run as a Repub­li­can. They are the dumb­est group of vot­ers in the coun­try. They be­lieve any­thing on Fox News. I could lie and they’d still eat it up. I bet my num­bers would be ter­rific!” In the US elec­tions cam­paign just ended every­one heard Trump speak of build­ing a wall, de­port­ing mil­lions who over­stayed their visas and banning Mus­lims en­ter­ing the USA. They also heard him say he could walk down Fifth Av­enue and shoot some­one in broad day­light and get away with it. They also saw him run as a Repub­li­can! Abruptly I am think­ing about the say­ing that “the peo­ple get the gov­ern­ment they de­serve.”

----Peter Josie

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