Sunday, November 09, 2008

Is This Democracy, or Idiocracy?: US Election and Its Implication across the Globe

Senator Barack Obama has achieved an impressive victory in the presidential election, supported by youngsters who have been uninterested in politics so seriously until recently. In other words, it is those who were not politically oriented that is changing the world today. This is not the only phenomenon in the United States but worldwide.

In Japan, Prime Minister-then Junichiro Koizumi marked a landslide victory in September 2005, thanks to enthusiastic support by those who were moved with TV show politics. In Russia, people chose Dmitri Medvedev for the president in March 2008, because they applauded Vladimir Putin’s image as a strong leader. In both cases, politics was driven by young voters who are poorly aware of their national agendas.

Should we call this sort of new populism as real democracy or barbaric idiocracy? In the context of history, it is necessary to observe whether this populism evolve into a new age democracy like the rise of civil society in the 17th and the 18th century, or into a turmoil of idiocracy.

The rise of civic power became noticeable at the Rio Summit on global warming in 1994. ICBL was awarded Nobel Peace Prize in 1997 thanks to cooperation by the web of global citizens of willing.

It is the Afghan War in response to 9-11 terrorist attack when left wingers across the world mobilized “ordinary citizens” to anti-war rallies for the first time. Those “ordinary citizens” are not the sort of people keenly aware of politics. Having enjoyed some success in mobilizing laymen to the rally, leftists organized enormous scale protest movements against the Iraq War. Global democracy has turned into global idiocracy.

We have to bear in mind that it is continual blow to the Bush administration by the global “civic”, or more precisely, “idiotic” society that has influenced the attitude of the media in the United States and abroad. This had led to the rise of Barack Obama.

In the Financial Times, Clive Crook points out that biased attitude of the media has brought substantial advantages to Obama (“How McCain lost the centrist vote”; Financial Times; October 26, 2008). But even Crook is biased. He says that the Obama side did not make fatal mistakes while the McCain side made some errors. Actually, Barack Obama’s ineptness was revealed when he met with General David Petraeus in Iraq. The Media did not question Obama’s competence as the Commander in Chief on this critical occasion. Japanese journalist Yoshihisa Komori casts doubt on strange attitude of the media (“Major media discuss this election from completely Democrat-biased viewpoints”; Stage-kaze Hatsu; November 4, 2008).

In the US presidential election, Senator John McCain won support by top national security experts such as Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, Retired General Norman Schwarzkopf, and Carnegie Endowment Senior Associate Robert Kagan. Also, a good citizen like Joe the Plumber was with McCain. On the other hand, Senator Barack Obama was boosted by voters whose political judgement is questionable, like Lindsay Lohan (This Hollywood star is notorious for wanton behavior.) and youngsters of marijuana junkies. In other words, Obama won the election, thanks to bête noire of the American public.

As Former US Vice President Albert Gore argues, the rise of civic power, from the Rio Summit to the Obama phenomenon could not have happened without the web (“Gore sees transformative power of Web in politics”; Computer World; November 7, 2008). Internet politics can pose both positive and negative impacts. Will the Obama phenomenon trigger another rise of civil power, or another rise of idiocracy? This must be understood from global context.