Thursday, December 14, 2006

The Big Difference

Thomas Jefferson understood it; Koirala never will

blogdai posted a well-received article here over a year ago. "Democracy and Trust." Check it out below if you have the time. The point is, the big difference between most Western forms of democratic government and the versions pretending to be "absolute democracy" by Koirala and his minions; or the "Republic" ideals loosely blathered by Prachanda, is that, to these men, "democracy" and "republic" are simply terms used to gain political legitimacy with an increasingly scrutinous world body. There was never, nor will there ever be, any sort of trust in the actual political systems that these words represent.

Let's take the Yanks for one example. (And these examples can apply to British Parliament and Franco-democratic principles as well). Just this past November, during a heated election, there was some controversy in a senatorial race in the state of Virginia. Votes were so close that incumbent senator Allen lost by a mere fraction of the popular vote. Now, under Virginia law, Mr. Allen had the RIGHT to demand a recount, and prolong this election to his ultimate satisfaction as it were. The kicker was, the entire recount would have been paid for by the State of Virginia! Basically, a free recount. To his credit, Mr. Allen felt that his higher duty was to respect the democratic process that showed him to be a clear, albeit narrow, loser and concede the election to his opponent. The point? Mr. Allen's goal--and blogdai believes this to be the single most important aspect of a democracy--was to preserve the integrity of the electoral system and thus preserve American representative democracy. Want a bigger example? Al Gore vs. George Bush: 'nuff said.

What we are getting at here is that the ONLY way a democracy or any type of representative or republican government will work is when all citizens and elected officials agree to follow the rules that preserve the system. Failing this, the system breaks down into chaos and self-interest-based posturing. Sound familiar?

So where does that put us and our beloved Nepal?

We have political leaders who were not elected to office. These same leaders say that they will never agree to a republican form of government and that "we will think" for the Nepali people. These same leaders haven't held an election in over 8 years yet claim a "mandate" from the citizens of Nepal.

We have their partners in crime, the Maoists, who have never once hinted at a compromise in their absolutist, outdated, communist principles. These same Maoists repeatedly violate the terms of a fairly negotiated ceasefire. They dictate their own rules, ignore Nepal's laws with their brutality, and are actively operating a parallel government.

What we have, in reality, is a pair of Kings, Koirala and Prachanda, trying to out maneuver each other for absolute control of Nepal.

Yet here they both stand, trumpeting to the world their committment to democracy and the "will of the People" while keeping their actions as far away from these ideals as possible. Couple that with the fact that there is not enough centralized agreement, in any form, to run and implement government policy in Nepal or follow through on any UN brokered agreement, and you have a questionably failed government just waiting for someone to properly slap the anarchy label on it.

The big difference? A sane, funtioning democratic form of government has an internalized committment from its citizens to preserve the system over all. In Nepal, self-interest and enrichment have always ruled the day.