Dear Democracy, I Think We Should See Other People
Dear Democracy, I think we should see other people. I know…it’s a shock, but you can’t say you didn’t see this coming. Things have been strained for a while, but this morning was the last straw. Brexit!? Seriously!? You son of a bitch! I can’t stay in this toxic relationship.
The red flags have been there for while. It seems like we’ve been arguing constantly these past few months. You let a far-right lunatic come within spitting distance of the Austrian presidency, then you turned around and made Donald Trump the Republican nominee. Clearly you’re suffering some sort of a breakdown.
I know I should be supportive. You’re under a lot of stress. A lot is being asked of you. But there’s a pattern emerging here and I’m done making excuses. You shafted Bernie, now Brexit…this madness has to end.
Democracy, you’re the only system of government I’ve known, the only one I’ve ever been with. You were my first. I remember it like yesterday, casting my first ballot at 18. You were so gentle, so skilled. You made me feel powerful, complete.
I’m older now, hopefully wiser. You’re not the only political system out there. With your increasingly erratic behaviour, you can’t blame me for exploring other options, for being curious. Yes, I’ve set up a Tinder profile and already matched with Communism and Totalitarianism. Fascism is demanding a date tonight, but he’s been relentlessly messaging dick pics. Even younger guys are flirting with me…the up/down voting system on reddit is “DTF”, whatever that means.
I’m not telling you this to hurt you. I don’t know…maybe I am. I just want some sort of a reaction. An acknowledgement.
My friends say you’ll always end up hurting me. A lot of them are really pissed at you today. Some are saying you’re too old for me, outdated. How many relationships survive a 2,500 year age difference? Things were different back in Ancient Greece when you were born. Today, when votes are cast for YouTube cat videos in numbers surpassing the turnout at most national elections, one has to wonder if you’re still even relevant anymore.
I don’t want things to end. Not like this. When things work between us, it’s so, so good. I can’t deny the representational chemistry between us. I still remember that night you made a black man leader of the free world….damn that was good! And more recently when you put a 14 year-old in charge of Canada. The 5–4 Supreme Court decision supporting marriage equality and the referendum legalising pot in Colorado…classic Democracy!
What happened to that Democracy? Democracy that brought about change, progress. That tore down walls instead of erecting borders. That wove fabric from multicultural thread instead of forging armour from bigoted ore.
I know what you’re going to say: that I always throw a hissy fit whenever the polls don’t go my way. That almost 34 million Brits turned out for the Brexit vote — a whopping 72% of the electorate — and the only thing Brits do in such staggering numbers is moan about the weather. The result represents the will of the majority.
I know, I know, but Democracy, this time things are different. Elections have consequences: eight years of Bush gave us two wars in the Middle East and front row seats to a screening of Armageddon, the one starring the global economy, not Bruce Willis. Britain’s departure from the EU will have material repercussions: a Scottish middle finger; London’s relegation from the financial capital league table; and the very real prospect of my Uber driver not speaking fluent Urdu.
I know you never promised that progress would be a smooth, uninterrupted journey of incremental improvements, like each new release of the iPhone. You’re messy, volatile and unpredictable because people are messy, volatile and unpredictable. Humans are irrational monkeys and no two evolved chimpanzees have shared the exact same life experience at the moment of casting their ballot. Progress happens in fits and bursts: a few steps forward, two steps back. It’ll stay that way until we handover the levers of governance to our robot overloads.
I get it Democracy, maybe I am being idealistic, expecting you to be perfect. I remember you explaining that, for all your weaknesses, democracy is hardwired for course-correction, and that hand-in-hand with individual freedom and the protection of human rights, you’ve chaperoned us into the most peaceful, prosperous and productive era humanity has ever known.
Oh Democracy, such wise words. I love it when you preach. I guess that’s why I fell in love with you all those years ago. You know I can never stay angry at you. I’m sorry I overreacted…it’s just that I’m so passionate about these things.
Of course I’ll shut my dating account…none of those losers could ever compete with you. I’m so glad we’ve made up, but a quick heads-up: if you give us President Trump I will fucking cut you.