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Copyright 2005 Mumia Abu-Jamal/Prison Radio

"Government By Emotional Voting"

  rec 4-24-05 

1) short essay MP3

2) long essay MP3

GOVERNMENT BY 'EMOTIONAL VOTING'
================================
[Col. Writ. 4/24/05] Copyright 2005 Mumia Abu-Jamal

We live in an era when representative democracy seems to hold sway over much of the world, but an examination of this trend forces us to ask, "Who represents whom?"

As this trend towards representative democracy grows, so does the distance between the representatives and the allegedly represented .

Despite this international trend, it can also be argued that those who hold representative power exercise that power in the interest of narrow segments of society; or, those who can afford their services.

For the poor, and for working people (most of us), whether one votes or not, or even who one votes for, is increasingly irrelevant.

Journalist Richard Swift, in his *The No-Nonsense Guide to DEMOCRACY* (Toronto, Ont.: New Internationalist Publ., Ltd., 2002), writes crisply about the kind of 'false representation' that now passes for democracy:

"Under most present circumstances these 'representatives' are only answerable to us in a very general sense. Once they have been elected any number of factors may weigh more heavily than the wishes of their constituents; their own views, Party discipline, personal ambition or the influence of powerful lobbies. Voters by-and-large do not get to hold them accountable until the next general election. *In the meantime, they form a virtual
dictatorship* - particularly if they are part of a majority government. Even this meager exercise of the popular will implied by elections must overcome a multiplicity of
unrepresentative forms (unelected houses like the British Lords or the Canadian Senate,
religious chambers like that which stymies the Iranian Parliament, the U.S. Electoral
College) which are designed to provide a buffer against unpredictable public opinion."
[p. 103]

Look at it this way: How many people supported the so-called U.S.A. PATRIOT Act? (Most Members of Congress didn’t even read the damn thing (!) so how could anybody support what they hadn’t read?). How many people supported NAFTA?

One of the Congressmen who voted for the Patriot Act, conservative Republican Representative Don Young, of Alaska, now calls the Patriot Act, “The worst act we ever passed.”

Young said this on a radio call-in show, when a caller from Hooper Bay, Alaska asked, "Did you vote for it?”

Congressman Young responded, “Everybody voted for it, but it was stupid. It was what you call 'emotional voting.' We didn’t follow it through, we didn’t study it.”

"Emotional voting" -- on a law which essentially erases the Fourth Amendment, weakens the First Amendment, and violates the rights of millions of Americans to be free from the snooping and repression of government.

We see 'emotional voting' everyday throughout this so-called representative democracy.

Often fueled by media, and whipped up by political forces to achieve their ultimate political end: more power.

When Congress doesn’t even read a law, there can be no real discussion, no true claim to 'representative democracy.'

Look at the recent brouhaha over the Terry Shiavo case.

Do you think even one of the hundreds of congresspeople who voted for the Terry Shiavo Act ever met the woman? Ever looked into her eyes? Really gave a tinker’s damn about her?

'Emotional voting.'

How many poor and working folks asked their so-called representatives to vote in favor of making bankruptcy harder to obtain?

Because we've lived too long under the curtain of 'representative democracy', few of us even question it anymore.

It’s like mountains in the backdrop of the mind; there, just beyond reach; in the haze of distance. Seemingly immortal.

But people have thought the same way about empires; yet, history has proven, quite conclusively, that all empires rise and fall. The Persian Empire. The Byzantine Empire. The Monomatapa Empire in Africa. The Chinese Imperial Dynasties. The Roman Empire.

All claimed immortality. All have passed away.

Shouldn’t 'emotional voting' also pass away?

[*Hentoff, Nat. *The War on the Bill of Rights -- and the Gathering Resistance* (NY: Seven Stories Press, 2003), pp. 144-45.]

Copyright 2005 Mumia Abu-Jamal

 
[Check out Mumia's latest: *WE WANT FREEDOM:
A Life in the Black Panther Party*, from South
End Press (http://www.southendpress.org); Ph.
#1-800-533-8478.]
===============================

"When a cause comes along and you know in your bones that it is
just, yet refuse to defend it--at that moment you begin to die.
And I have never seen so many corpses walking around talking about
justice." - Mumia Abu-Jamal

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========================================

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The Power of Truth is Final — Free Mumia!

PLEASE CONTACT:
International Concerned Family & Friends of MAJ
P.O. Box 19709
Philadelphia, PA 19143
Phone - 215-476-8812/ Fax - 215-476-6180
E-mail - AND OFFER YOUR SERVICES!

Send our brotha some LOVE and LIGHT at:
Mumia Abu-Jamal
AM 8335
SCI-Greene
175 Progress Drive
Waynesburg, PA 15370

WE WHO BELIEVE IN FREEDOM CAN *NOT* REST!!

Submitted by: Sis. Marpessa