Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Rotten borough America

This entry will be somewhat of a belated translation, or better, a paraphrase of an entry in my blog in Serbian I made about the elections in Serbia. This time, I'll comment on a similar tendency to the one that contributed to (preliminary) Serbian election results that is going on in America. Mitt Romney is now catching a lot of flak for his comments on "47% of Americans being dependent on governement handouts". The accuracy of his numbers as well as crassness of his comments notwithhstanding, Romney was correct in general principle that the number of Americans dependent on the governement is ever increasing and that this can not be a good thing. Economic disadvanteges that this tendency creates are too numerous to even contemplate here, and are bad enough by themselves. Possible political consequences are, however, potentially worse, devastating even. America itself could be made one giant "rotten borough". As I wrote back in May about Serbia:

...After 12 years of continual economic, moral and cultural destruction of Serbia, the whole country has become one large rotten borough...  By that I do not mean that the voters were literally bribed to vote in a certain way but they did recieve a financial incentive albeit in an indirect way. This was achieved through a now infamous system of  "party employment" in public and state-owned companies and governememnt jobs. The ruling clique has empoloyed enough family members, friends, party activists as well as their family members into lucrative(as well as less so) jobs in governement jobs ans state owned companies to ensure that the number of their votes can tip ther scale in their favour because the entire livelyhood of these people literally depends on who has the power. Looking for a different job is out of the question, partially due to economic crisis, but mostly because of the governement deliberately creating  an economic climate that makes private, autonomous initiative all but impossible. To top it all, many of the existing private companies are dependant on business transactions with governement institutions,  the rights to which many were obtained in a roundabout, even blatantly illegal way. And so it comes to be that a large percentage of the electorate doesn't really have a choice on election day.
As I said the number of such voters in America may not have reached critical mass that ensures one party's stranglehold on power but all research points to the progressive swelling of governement dependents.

So, what are the possible devastating political consequences should it come to the point of no return? The first one would be that elections will no longer be a feasible way of achieving  any kind of meaningful change. If a candidate was to openly campaign on a platform of reforming the system he would open the opportunity for the ruling party to fear-monger among it's dependants. If he would argue that such dependency on governement handouts is not good for the people that recieve them he could be portrayed as arrogant and patronising. Anyone willing to take on this system would have to pander to it and it's beneficients in public. This in turn creates resentment and frustration among the part of the population that works (more or less) independently of governement institutions and a feeling of it not being adequately represented in the governement which is formally supposed to be "off the people, for the people". These feelings, initially directed at politicians of both parties, could easily turn to fellow Americans living off the governement thus sowing seeds of discord that could bear some really ugly fruits.

Is there a way prevent this kind of situation? As I said, unlike in Serbia, the number of people directly or indirectly living off governement jobs or handouts has not yet reached critical mass so it is still possible to stop this slide into the abyss by purely political means. The question is, is Mitt Romney, who professes to be the saviour from this fate, up to this task? Almost all the known facts point to a negative answer to that question.

And once the situation I described in my Serbian blog entry comes to be, is there a way out of it? Actually there are three. One is the complete financial bankrupcy of the US which will force the governement to slash all except the most essential personel. Needless to say this will create huge civil unrest and open up a whole different can of worms. Another is an overthrow of the system by force but that could spell either a formal cessation of the American system as it is known or a break-up of America, an 1861 revisited.

The third one is the Serbian way out, which means a 10-Richter-scale political earthquake that was the victory of current president of Serbia Nikolić over then-incumbent and Serbian version of Obama Tadić which turns the political landscape completely on it's head. This, plainly and simply, is a miracle, and God does not distribute those at an abundance, which is why they are called miracles. I am tempted to say that America does not deserve miracles, but I thought the same about Serbia in May. The Lord works in mysterious ways and all I can honestly recommend are prayers.

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