Most Americans, thanks to the sad state of our cultural desire not to look beyond our shores until someone begins flying jets into our skyscrapers or slaughtering people with assault rifles in public venues, probably have no idea what the “Brexit” is, or that it’s even going on. But it is. And it’s important. And there are reasons we should all be paying attention.
There’s an amazing thing going on over in the UK, which includes England, the country we fought in our Revolutionary War so that we could break away from the tyranny of the mother country from whence our first settlers arrived.
They came here of course, at risk of life and limb, so that they could decide matters for themselves, free of the English yoke, or as a gang of Massachusettes Yankees called it, “Taxation without representation.” We’d have none of that. No, our founders, God bless them, decided it would be better to fight to the death on their feet than to live on their knees while taking orders from the British Empire, which wanted us only for the profits they could take from our sweat, toil and soil. So our anchestors fought, and with the help of Washington, LaFayette and France, we won. So stop your bitching about the French. They are our oldest ally and we owe them our very existence. Because of their assistance, the United States of America, a Republic, was born.
Now, some 240 years later, our legislative process and position in the world relative to Britain’s legislative process and position in the world, is most interesting to ponder.
The Brits, England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, are about to vote in a national referendum with regard to whether the people of the United Kingdom (also known as Britain) want to leave or remain in the European Union. In a move that is pure Democracy, those who live in the UK are being given the opportunity to tell their political leaders what they the people, want to do. This is a big deal. A wrong decision could spell economic disaster for the UK, and much of the world. As in 2008, if the UK leaves the EU, some are predicting it could all come tumbling down again, throwing world markets into another tailspin and doing God knows what to the British economy for years to come. But the point here, is that the decision is being made by a national referendum, by the people of the UK, and not by the dictates of their politically motivated leaders. It is call Democracy. With a captial “D.” It is pure self-determination.
Our only truly national election, our only referendum, as such, is to elect a president, and even that has effective limits, with electors and not the American people, casting the deciding votes. Meaning, in short, an elite group of political bigshots get together every four years and decide who is going to run the country. That was supposed to be balanced off by the Congress, but since they were bought off there is no balance, only stalemate. A broken government that does not work. We elect a few others to run the country and then go back to our daily lives, paying no attention to what’s going on until things fall apart.
Here in the U.S., the country that shed its blood to break away from the British, we have no such thing as a national referendum. No, here, we have no Constitutional Monarchy with a Parliment giving proportional representation even to the smaller political parties. Here we have only two politicial parties controlled by corporations and other big-money interests with a stranglehold on the system. Here, there is no referendum. Not on the TPP, not on NAFTA, not on gun control, not on abortion not on national healthcare. Here, there is no Democracy, only the best corrupted government money can buy as we veer off into a new round of gun-control legislation that will once again, go nowhere, following yet another mass slaughter on our soil.
Who would have imagined, all those years ago, that the country with a monarch would turn out to be the true democracy, while the nation that fought to break away in what appeared to be their own best interest for self-determination would sink into a corrupt system, denying the will of the people while favoring the desires of the wealthy few?
The founders would surely be incensed at our lack of sensible gun control as a flintlock couldn’t spit out more than 30 rounds a second, nor could they possibly forsee a government willing to sell itself to the highest bidders. It’s a valid analogy. These things need consideration. The mother country may be able to provide some guidance after all.