National Review is a partisan publication in support of Republicans, which before the election of Donald Trump had the guts to warn its readers of the dangers of Trump but after the election backed down. What would its founder the late Bill Buckley Jr. have thought or written about it all? While often I did not agree with him and I often could not completely follow his eloquent but dense wording, in writing or speech (the man who knew too much), I admired the way he expressed himself.
But maybe the National Review is gaining some of it courage back. I like the way one writer closed his essay:
“The Republicans are very lucky that the only practical alternative to them at the moment is the Democrats. The Democrats are lucky in precisely the same way.”
And that is the problem we face in the United States. We have tweedle dum and tweedle dee to choose from. Republicans or Democrats.
While it may not be accurate at the moment to say that both political parties are in reality clones of each other what with the Democrats seeming to have to some extent taken a hard turn to the left (über liberal) and the Republicans to the right (almost fascist like), nonetheless neither party seems to offer the majority of the populace what it wants or neither party works to represent the unrepresented.
So I’ll get to the point here:
We might be better off with a parliamentary system and to model it after the one in the mother country Great Britain.
In so many ways it seems they have more of a democracy than we do. Remember, even though the 13 original American colonies broke away from the monarchy of England, what they really wanted was to have “the rights of Englishmen”.
My admittedly limited but at least general reading of history tells me that much of the freedom we have as American citizens has its origins in the rise of the merchant class which today we might refer to as the middle class. Of course the tenets of democracy go way back before that, but I think what we think we should have is what the colonists thought they were entitled to: the rights of Englishmen.
Now of course England is not free of political shenanigans and intrigues and corruption but it seems to me that it has a more open and representative government that provides access to minority political parties with its parliamentary system.
Instead of the imperial presidency we have wound up with in the United States they have a prime minister chosen among the ranks of the parliament (their congress).
If you want to see democracy in action just watch a weekly session of Prime Minister’s Questions when the prime minister must stand — literally stand — before the House of Commons and answer questions and defend her or his own policies. Can you imagine Donald Trump doing that? You can watch this event on YouTube or C-Span.
(Well Trump might do it but he would quickly get into a childish name calling fight and he would not address the actual subjects or be able to articulate his positions, to the extent he really had any.)
And the biggie here is that in order to get elected and to form a government with its attendant ministers (cabinet posts) a prime minister candidate is often forced to form a coalition among disparate parties in order to get enough votes, thus giving more representation to the populace as a whole. And the prime minister can be booted out at any time if she or he fails to sustain the support of the House of Commons.
I hope I did not go past my knowledge level of the whole thing, but I think I was reasonably accurate.
(I do have a BA degree in political science from the California State University of Chico but my concentration was on American politics and law and these days I work as a truck driver — go figure.)
Oh, and one more thing: if you watch the prime minister’s questions you will see or hear articulate people from all societal levels. That’s refreshing. We here in the United States suffer from too many inarticulate people who either cannot express themselves or try to hide behind muddled communication. This robs us all of the ability to both understand what they mean and to be able to counter it if need be.
Across the pond they know their English. Well, after all, they are in England.
And back to the imperial presidency in the U.S. where the president can order up war on his own (even if he is not supposed to be able to) or issue executive orders bypassing the people’s’ representatives or hide behind the protection of the fortress of the White House, rather than be forced to come out of Number 10 Downing Street like the English prime minister to answer questions from parliament.
Ironically, England or Great Britain still has a monarchy in place but it is ceremonial these days for the most part — kind of the glue that keeps society together.
We in the U.S. are not supposed to have a king or queen. But the presidents of the modern era seem to be expected to be monarchs.
Not sure that I made a good case for having a parliamentary system. And it would be nearly impossible I imagine to change things, amending our constitution and all.
But nevertheless I question whether we have the democracy we claim to have.
However I love my country. And I think we would all fare better if people paid more attention and more people voted and held our politicians accountable.