Is Democracy Dying or Kick Starting?

Living in Hong Kong where last week 12 pro-democracy candidates for the September 6 Legislative Council elections (HK Governing Body) were disqualified – and within 24 hours the election itself was postponed for a year to September 2021, using the Covid pandemic as justification – on the heels and wake of President Trump trying to delay the U.S. presidential election on the same grounds, one can’t help ask “Is democracy dying or just recharging to kick start?”

Listening to Trump trying to delay the November 3 U.S. presidential election, trying to stop mail-in ballots, and cut costs and services at the U.S. Post Office, because otherwise the election will be “The greatest election disaster in history,”  be “The most rigged election ever,” and “It will be fixed,” I couldn’t help wonder if China and Russia’s authoritarian form of government was winning the political war against democracy. Not only in Hong Kong, but America!

Putin’s Russian model has been adopted in democratic Hungary, Bulgaria, Venezuela, and is on its way to being adopted in Poland – and has an admiring fan in President Trump.

Xi’s China model has been adopted in democratic Cambodia, Myanmar and is being force-fed on democratic Hong Kong – and also has an admiring fan in President Trump.

The International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, a Swedish intergovernmental organization, tracked the pandemic’s impact on elections and found that 68 countries and territories postponed their elections, while 49 proceeded.

Laura Thornton, director of the group’s Global Program, pointed out the political risk of Hong Kong Chief Executive’s unilateral decision of postponing the election without input from third parties, especially the Electoral Affairs Commission and medical experts.

“Postponement of elections has been viewed by opposition forces as an attempt by the incumbent to extend grip on power,” she said. “If the decision is taken unilaterally, without democratic consultation and agreement, it risks public distrust.”

The Venice Commission, an independent advisory body of the Council of Europe, also called on decision makers to involve “all political parties, election management bodies and experts” in the discussions on delays, to ensure respect for human rights.

Not looking good for democracy. Authoritarianism is on the rise. But there is hope.

It is indeed interesting times to be a witness to democracy and its institutions attacked under the cover of the Covid pandemic. Covid control and social distancing in polling stations. Voting. Period!

Five states in America conduct their elections entirely by mail-in-ballots. Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Utah and Washington have been doing so for years and no election has been fixed or rigged. Historical fact with U.S. Intelligence Agencies backup and support. All 50 states allow for Absentee Ballots to be mailed in.

No reason America and Hong Kong can’t take the lead on making mail-in-ballots a political norm. Just like they made online banking secure and a banking norm.

Fusing Athenian democratic ideals with 21st-century technology. No different than combining traditional banking with 21st-century technology.

The Covid pandemic is a good time to take cover and work on how to best recharge and kick-start democracy to give it a fighting chance. A real Restart. Starting in the Muslim world where democracy has taken root in the two most populous Muslim countries and is growing; Indonesia and India. Malaysia, Tunisia, Morocco, Nigeria, Pakistan, Turkey and Lebanon, are struggling democracies. Islam and democracy can and do co-exist, a subject I address in detail in my first book Custom Maid Spin for New World Disorder, in the chapter Fundamental Religious Crusades, pages 182188, published in 2004.

Just as George Floyd’s murder kick-started Black Lives Matter globally, Trump and dictators attempts to hijack democratic ideals and institutions, will kick-start the “Good Trouble” the late Civil Rights Activist Congressman John Lewis, advocated and practiced.

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Illustration: Mark Caparosa