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GUEST OPINION: The flaw in our democracy


The election is over, and the blitzkrieg of political ads has subsided — but not the rage and fury many felt at the issues that affect us all.

My greatest lesson from this election and recent elections is that we have institutionalized prejudice and hatred. Discrimination against a minority is alive and well, but expecting rewards for bad behavior is a right.

Basil Adams.

We discriminated against high-income earners with Proposition 30. Many are very comfortable about taxing people above a certain income level simply because they get someone else to pay the bill. Jealousy and hatred are incredibly negative emotions to foment in society, but that’s exactly what happened. Self-interested people took the easy way out and voted to make someone else pay for their services.

The Republicans want us to discriminate against gays and against women who unwittingly become pregnant. The Democrats want us to discriminate against the wealthy and the successful with higher taxes and greater regulation. The food purists want us to discriminate against high-yield farmers, and the self-righteous want us to discriminate against tobacco-users. People who drive hybrids want to use the HOV lanes even though they drive alone, and bicyclists who pay no road-use gas tax want to carve out a piece of the road for themselves. Renters want to discriminate against property owners with parcel taxes, and, let’s face it, the masses want to discriminate against any minority because they can as long as someone else foots the bill.

The great flaw in our democracy is that the majority can always vote to take a disproportionate price from a minority. Everyone’s vote counts the same regardless of your contributions. Legislating morality, taxing success and generally narcissistic behavior are the great issues of our time.

Never mind that our kids are uneducated, our streets aren’t safe, our borders are porous, our neighbor’s lifestyle is frowned on, our daughters aren’t supposed to be able to correct a mistake.

And exacerbating that great flaw is the fact that government supports such discrimination. Each new act of discrimination creates new bureaucracy and more power for the politicians.

Give me one good politician who never tells me his or her belief, feeling or sentiment. Give me a politician who uses analysis and logic to determine what’s in the best, long-term interests of society and not just what will get him or her re-elected. Give me a politician who says, “I’m here to serve, not to rule. I’ll do what’s in my constituents’ interests — not what my party tells me to do.”

I doubt such a person can get nominated, let alone elected. But they’d get my vote.

(Basil Adams is a professor at Santa Rosa Junior College and at Golden Gate University. He lives in Petaluma.)

18 Responses to “GUEST OPINION: The flaw in our democracy”

  1. Terry says:

    OMG, I just read this, and realized this was one of my professors at GC. This is one the biggest (I mean that literally too) self serving wind bags you will ever meet. The worse professor I had in college. You know there is an old saying, those who can, do, those who can’t, teach, this saying fits Mr. Adams to a T.

  2. Joe H. says:

    Where do you find the moronic idiots to right this garbage? Oh wait, I recognize that guy, he is the Pillsbury doughboy :)

  3. barbi says:

    I love how terminating the life of an unborn child is called “correcting a mistake.”

    The mistake that I would like to correct is the payment of such lavish pensions and health benefits to junior college “professors”, especially ones who don’t know the difference between a constitutional republic and a democracy.

  4. BigDogatPlay says:

    “The flaw in our democracy”

    Ummmm… neither the United States nor the State of California is a democracy. The US is a representative republic. One might note that the California state flag includes the word “republic” on it.

    Seems the only flaw here is a professor who wasn’t paying attention in PoliSci all those years ago.

    The great flaw cited, that the majority can always inflict a penance on a minority is both blessing and curse. Our system of laws and social compact are such that the majority rules and we give our trust that the majority is doing the right thing. That, of course, is being set on it’s ear by the near 50% of Americans who derive some monetary benefit or remuneration from government. Once it gets to 50% plus one, it will likely never be able to swing back barring something unfortunate happening.

    Either way it’s still better that the minority rules of, say, socialism, Marxist / Leninist / Maoist communism, or fascism.

  5. Jean Anderson says:

    Although the article makes some very good points, what do you mean by “Republicans want us to discriminate… against women who unwittingly become pregnant.”

    Unwittingly? As if they had no say or no idea how it happened, just the victim of a drive-by boinking???

    Makes no sense.

  6. MOCKINGBIRD says:

    SPOILER ALERT. Times were better in the past when we paid more in taxes. Look at history. We get what we pay for and need.

    My resentment about paying taxes is that I pay more than a lot of rich people for the infrastructure that I use yet those big businesses need a good infrastructure to do business as well. They need the police and fire, the water and power, the road systems, the ports, the airports and so much more. They need an educated workforce who can do the job they are hired to do. They shouldn’t have to import educated techs for instance because they can’t find them here.

    I also resent that Bush got us into two unfunded wars and didn’t fund Medicare. Those went onto the budget books when Obama took office showing a huge deficit. Jobs steadily declined under Bush and have been inclining during Obama, but those jobs are not the same quality as the jobs lost. If we hadn’t had those tax breaks, AND THIS IS CLEAR, our deficit wouldn’t have been so high, likely the job situation would be better, and we could have weathered the housing bubble much better.

    And most of all, I am quite sure the decline in quality of jobs, loss of good wage jobs with benefits and pensions, SECURE JOBS where one can put in their 20, 30, 40 years and retire without starving have declined because of the union busting since Reagan was President. As union membership and power have declined so have ALL worker jobs, union or not, declined.

    And yet the union busters are alive and well on this blog being clueless as always, blind to reality and history.

  7. Que Sera says:

    We never truly had a democracy in America because the founders believed the poor and uneducated could not run a country. At least not a country that assured the rich and well healed propered and governed.

    We formed a govt in which the govt makes all the rules and laws and the people have no recouse against either. Think of it! How do the people of this nation remove a corrupt judge when govt, which we assumed would, refuses to do so.

    We gave Congress broad authority! But if we have an immoral Congress as we have now, the will of people goes nowhere and corruption remains.

    We need amendments to our Constitution and penalties for those that violated it. We need a direct way for anyone in govt to be removed from office by the people not a Congress that has failed to do so.

    Furthermore we need review of all rights and laws created by our Judiciary. No matter how one feels about abortion, the founders never discussed it and never put anything about it in the Consitution. Let the judges that found it tell us exactly where it was discussed by the Constitution Conventioneers and where did they explain the right to abortion in the Federalist Papers or anywhere else?

    Lets face, our govt is not the same one we created by our founders. And what we have is not better than what we were to have and agreed to have.

  8. James Bennett says:

    Dan D.:
    How much longer are we going to allow one of the oldest plays in the oppressors handbook to be used to dilute and distract our unity.

    Devide and Conquer, as old as the hills.

  9. Dan J Drummond says:

    Thumbs Up = United we stand
    Thumbs Down = Divided we fall

  10. R. B. Fish says:

    Seriously. Is this guy actually a professor??? If he, here’s is one problem.

  11. Thorn says:

    This article is so misconceived I don’t even know where to begin but to quote Churchill.

    “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.”

  12. Marc says:

    Good article and pretty much sums it up! We are in a downward spiral with no sign of recovery and the voters seem to want to keep it that way.

  13. Joe Right says:

    Navada’s economy should benefit greatly from California
    forcing money/income out of the state.

  14. steve humphrey says:

    Well put. America’s past has been blessed with leaders that always considered “the greater good” in legislating and leading our country.
    The division seems to be boiling down to those who ride in the wagon vs. those who pull it. The pullers have always obliged the riders, they are just not used to be ridiculed and demonized for doing so.
    Let’s hope they continue to help society instead of just deciding it’s easier to ride.

  15. Dan J Drummond says:

    @Follower- If you can, would you please define your terms “Republic” and “Democracy”?

    Do you mean republics like these?

  16. Dan J Drummond says:

    America’s tax system as a whole is just barely progressive, but that should soon change. To you that get a paycheck over $250,000, America thanks you for your sacrifice!

  17. Follower says:

    The “flaw in our Democracy” is that we have allowed our “Republic” to become a “Democracy”.

  18. GAJ says:

    Well Mr. Adams, with the Democrats achieving a Supermajority you can expect things to get worse.

    I don’t expect there will be any improvement in our deficit as the Democratic majority is against meaningful cuts as their Union puppet masters simply won’t allow it.

    If taxes are to be raised to cut the deficit substantially, taxing only the wealthy simply won’t do it.

    It’ll be interesting to see how the Democrats react now that there is no one to blame but themselves for continued fiscal mismanagement.