30 June 2008

Rare moments in democracy

With his political life on the line and a recall looming, Piyush the Boy Wonder has vetoed the legislative pay raise package which not 24 hours ago seemed absolutely assured to pass into law.  This in the face of repeated assertions over the past week that he would not veto any pay raise (nor sign it into law, letting it take effect without his signature) as legislative pay was, according to him, within the legislature's purview.  (And this in a state with a long tradition of strong executives.  Makes one almost hanker for the bad ol' days of EWE and friends.)

In this, a rare "accountability moment" in democracy, the people may be well fooled into thinking that their voices were heard, and that the public outcry served its purpose.   

Yet lo, in the face of overwhelming opposition to the imperial warfare in the Middle East, here we have this insult.

Power brokers and special interests dictate virtually all activities in a 'representative' government, for the sheer fact that the average citizen is too stupid, dull, or just plain occupied with his own life and troubles to involve himself much with politics.  This goes for the usual disgraces as well as alleged reverses for the political class such as we occasionally see.

While the defeat of the legislative pay raise is a victory, understand that in the long run it means nothing.  It does nothing to chip away at the vicious and bloated morass that is the modern State. Nothing was rolled back here.  No blows for liberty were struck.  In all it is a minor thing, a convenient (from the power elites' perspective) distraction from more important issues of life and State - as in the usurpation of our freedoms, etc.

The pay raise was political bribery, plain and simple - the legislators would get some goodies in return for giving Piyush and his dickhead cronies an easy time with their legislative programme.  It was a plain enough giveaway for even Joe Blow from Marrero to see - and that clarity, so rare in politics, was required to stimulate his moribund sense of political propriety.

Don't worry - the backscratching will occur, just in another way that the folks won't manage to perceive, being dull and politically apathetic as they are.