Necessary for Democracy is the Freedom of the Spirit
2011 has given the world an example of something is has never before considered, that democracy and freedom are a state of the spirit. What caused the people of Tunisia and Egypt to risk bringing military action against themselves to have democracy? More particularly, why are the people of Libya risking life and limb to be free? At this moment, men and women are lying in the streets of Libya, bleeding and dying, for the chance that their spirits can be free to make choices for their lives, unmarred by their madman dictator Muammar Gaddafi.
Years earlier similar scenes were seen on the streets of the Soviet Union, and also in China. In China, a Western news cameraman captured the image of a man, singularly, standing in the front of a column of advancing tanks, attempting to halt them. The front tank stopped. The driver not knowing what to do attempted to go around the man. The man again moved in front of the tank, defying the tank to run him over. Security forces finally took the man away; he likely was one of the thousands of people executed for daring to protest against the Chinese regime.
Why would the man risk being crushed by a tank? Could it be because he felt that life was not worth living if was not free. The spirit of a human can be dampened, and contained for a time, but the flicking flame of freedom cannot entirely be extinguished. When given a chance the spirit will fight to be free.
In the history of mankind there has always been the disposition of some to dominate others and those dominated have always struggled to remain free and cast of their oppressors. Of power Lord Acton said “ Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely” It is the corruption of leadership that leads to domination. Of the will to be free, on December 25, 1832, before the American Civil War Joseph Smith said of the slavery issue “ 1. beginning at the rebellion of South Carolina, which will eventually terminate in the death and misery of many souls; … slaves shall rise up against their masters”.
( see http://www.pbs.org/americanprophet/prophecies.html)
Concerning the struggle to be free, one of my heroes, Thomas Jefferson said “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure.
(See http://www.theatlantic.com/past/docs/issues/96oct/obrien/blood.htm )
We in the West scarcely understand this doctrine, living in the lap of luxury, but as the United States has endured the harshness of a severe recession our eyes are becoming opened to the meaning of good governance, thus the potential revolutionary movement of the Tea Party, and more recently the even more democratic Occupy Movement.
Here in Canada, we are perhaps shaken by the spirit of the demonstrations, combined with the antics of our own government, we are wondering if we are being well served. The In and Out Scheme, the 3 resent contempt of Parliament charges, against the Harper Government, has shown Canadians that something is wrong here as well. Some people have expressed that they can no longer see Canadian values in the Government of Canada. Years ago we may well have thought to go to the Liberals to take up our governance, but in them we see the same rot; scandals, party self-interest, and disciplining our representatives to vote contrary to the will of us, the people. The question begs to be asked, if we voted for our member, and we pay them their salaries, why aren’t they voting according to our thoughts? And why is it that we have absolutely no say in policy between elections; democracy is the people having a say between elections.
We must understand that we cannot leave the mess to be fixed by the politicians, because 1) they are the mess, and 2) because they are so busy accruing power to themselves, they are not interested in fixing the mess. We must come to the conclusion that it is the system of government that is the problem and that we the voters must begin to understand the principles of democracy to be able to change it. Also, we have been foolish believing we can trust politician with our power and not have some checks on them and balances in place. We must awaken from our deep sleep and shake the apathy from our limbs. Have we not banged our heads against the same wall long enough? As Jefferson said “ The price of freedom is eternal vigilance”. We have not been vigilant for a long time, we have a long road to travel, but we must begin.