A Polite Message to Condoleezza Rice About Democracy


 41511534 Protest Afp

Condoleezza is currently enjoying a tour of the North of the UK, hosted by Jack Straw, UK Foreign Secretary, and they have faced anti-war demonstrators at every turn. Condi’s response:

“The protesters make my point. Democracy is the only system that allows people to be heard, and heard peacefully.”

It’s not just her. This has been the default response to any protest over the war: ‘well at least they have the freedom to protest.’ And I am totally sick of it. Why? Because it is an utterly cynical disenfranchisement of the political process.

Yes people are freely allowed to protest. But the logical conclusion of this position appears to be that Governments are given a free hand to do what the hell they like, as long as the little people are given some space to have their pathetic little protests about it. And this is precisely what so many people feel about this Labour government’s responses to Iraq, to education, to health, to terror legislation.

The end result is not a love-in about how great democracy is, it is people becoming so fed up with the impotence of the ‘democratic’ system we have – a system that shouts loudly and proudly about the voice they give to dissent, but then utterly ignore it – that they simply give up on democracy. And take matters into their own hands.

Condi is wrong. These protests do not prove her point. Unless, of course, her point is that people disenfranchised from the democratic protest and rendered impotent by it, who see their views and opinions ignored by a powerful elite in the pockets of the rich, are very likely to find potency in terrorism and direct action. Yes: finally an admission that Iraq led directly to the London July bombings.

So, the polite message? Go home Rice. We don’t want or need your lectures on democracy. You may have talents and skills, but you’re hardly the best ambassador on this one.

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17 responses to “A Polite Message to Condoleezza Rice About Democracy”

  1. well put Kester – I too feel angered by this nodding of the head to ‘the people’ without the accompanying inclined ear. It’s about time our politicians upheld democracy by responding to public voice rather than by exerting military might.

  2. yup, well said. I echo the cry “go home”.
    I recall the title of a book by our elected mayor “If Voting Changed Anything They’d Abolish It”.
    It’s not even as if we have the freedom to protest any longer, Thatcher and her love children (Major & Blair) have made sure of that – unless of course you have a love of fox-hunting.

  3. Interesting… if the UK is so upset about the Iraqi war, why was Tony Blair returned to power.
    The people protesting have the opportunity to make their point. The fact that their point so far hasn’t carried the day, doesn’t change that fact.
    Yes Condi, the UK isn’t the place for you. Come home. To hell with the UK anyway

  4. He was returned to power for many reasons. One shouldn’t vote on a single issue, and on many issues this Labour government has been way ahead of the other parties. On the war though, they have all been equally poor. Why? Because ‘intelligence’ was not shared, so people could not make decisions based on good evidence. Why wasn’t it shared? Because it didn’t exist. It was smoke and mirrors.
    People protesting have the opportunity to make their point, but it’s precisely the point I am making that their point hasn’t carried the day. How can it when they have no control over the reins of power? Your argument is somewhat circular in this aspect.
    And on your last point, I’ll quote Curtis Mayfield: “If there’s hell below, we’re all going to go.” Condi and Bush too 😉

  5. Well said, Kester!

  6. so because your government doesn’t bend to the wiles of every protest group they’re being heavy handed bullies? I’m a bit confused by your point actually. you disagree with the war so you’re going to … what?…blame democracy? blame the people who don’t listen to you? wow, haven’t heard that one before.

  7. I’m not blaming democracy.
    My simple point is that politicians such as Rice shouldn’t play the ‘democracy’ card when facing protest. What *she* is saying by doing so is ‘we are listening, people have some leverage because it’s a democracy.’ And this is patently untrue. You say I’m ‘blaming the people who don’t listen to me’. Well what else is democracy if it isn’t a forum for listening to views and having some way of acting on them?
    I disagree with the war, yes. It doesn’t take much to see it’s been a total disaster. And part of the problem has been the disfunctional democratic systems that we have, which announce to the world that everyone has a voice, when in reality it is the corporations who speak loudest, and are clearly heard sharper by Blair than anyone else.

  8. Ahh… thanks Mike for turning me on to more members of the clueless Religious Left… they who see black and white often but abhor it when their x-ray negatives on the Religious Right do the same…
    It seems more than simply obvious but what the heck, the intellectuals here seem to have missed the point…
    And the point?
    Try protesting in say… oh… your basic A-1 non-Democratic nation, especially that nation led by Islamofascists… or even writing a blog with an attitude there…

  9. Sorry, didn’t realise the US was run by Islamofascists 😉
    I’m not sure there is a great deal of freedom to protest in the US at the moment… Schoolteachers disciplined for questioning the war, professors hassled for the same?
    This is the real problem: I’m not sure we are really democratic. The real power is not with the people, it’s elsewhere. Turn that ‘brutally honest’ eye on yourself Rickinva… Have ‘the right’ got it right on this one?

  10. Kester… are you being serious… you want to take isolated incidents of idiocy and morally equate that to what’s happening in dictatorships, thugocracies, etc?
    I’m thinking you’re leading quite the sheltered life bub…
    Perhaps you ought to spend some time in China or Iran or the Sudan…
    Get a little perspective…
    People like you sadden me with their collossal display of ignorance…

  11. Peace, Rick. Have a happy, brutally honest, unsheltered, enlightened Easter. Some one in occupied Palestine is dying for ya’.
    This Crucifixion sponsored by RomanNailCorp™
    ‘For A More Peaceful Occupation’

  12. are you serious?! no room for protest in America?! wow…now that’s ignorance.

  13. Rick, is your point that we should ignore a gradual erosion of the freedom of speech, a widening divide between rich and poor and the multitude of injustice and inequality within our own society(s) merely because it’s a lot worse somewhere else? That has always struck me as a lazy and easy argument. Put up and shut up because you might be in xxxx.
    Have a happy Easter.

  14. i guess the question is what is true democracy and fairness. i’ve stuggled with this topic in the sphere of church structure as well. but politically, i believe i’m with you kester that democracy isn’t true democracy unless the peoples’ voices have real impact on the government’s policies. protest should have an impact and i believe they do if they represent the majority. but how do you suggest that governments accurately follow the public’s opinions at every turn?
    we have free elections of leaders. that is we put our trust in these leaders to make good decisions that reflect the people they represent. but is it not practical for them to get the opinion of the public for every major decision? with all the decisions needing to be made every day, they would get nothing done with such a system. isn’t it unrealistic for leaders to listen comprehensively to the public before making decisions?

  15. nobody

    Wow Some one should stop giving the BBC such a voice in their perspectives


    Agreed Nick. But shouldn’t our *leaders* decisions at least be representative of those they *lead*? The initial outcry against demolishing Iraq was more than, say, a fox-hunt-protester, yet who got the listening ear of government.
    The US is trying its hand at empire – has been since CocaCola and MaccyDees – and is fucking up royally (but without the royalty) as the UK did when we took on the world… although we tended to at least adopt some local (quaint) customs while we killed, enslaved and stole. The US empire seems almost the opposite… it seeks to drip-feed fastfood, debt, bullets and, now, democracy to the savage-and-unchristian-world so that the US will always be *needed*. Lets face it, the US is looking a bit like an insecure, spoiled and greedy king brat at the moment.
    NB: Many Americans are lovely, I just give my naive, sheltered view as seen from the world that exists outside of the America Colonies.
    Who Would Jesus Bomb?


    We already failed at Empire. Blair,let’s not follow the US in their attempts. Show some dignity, old bean. Stand up to the bully.
    What Would Britania Do?