Monday, October 24, 2011

Theocracy and Plutocracy in Iraqi and America

American politics increasingly resembles Iraqi politics. Medina in Saudia Arabia during Muhammad's time, was an early example of a truly democratic state, but the development of democracy in the Islamic world eventually came to a halt following to the Sunni-Shia split. In modern Iraq the Supreme Iraqi Islamic Council party became one of Iraq's most powerful political parties and was the largest party in the Iraqi Council of Representatives (like the House of Representatives).  It is a Shia Muslim party previously led by prominent Shia Ayatollahs. No confusion there, it is a theocratic party (like the Ayatollahs in the US Tea Party which now runs the Republican Party).  The other major party, The Iraqis, consists of an alliance of Sunni tribal leaders, led by those of al-Yawar's Shammar tribe. It is also a religious party, but somewhat more secular (i.e. more like the US Democratic Party).  Aside from the periodic throwing of shoes, and insults hurled at one another, the most striking feature of the Iraqi Parliament is its lack of activity. The Iraqis can’t come to any agreement about most things, but are entirely stalemated as to how to divide their enormous oil wealth. 

You will recall the catcalls, jeers and spitting at African American House members by members of the Tea Party in 2009.  The Iraqis would no doubt find it familiar to the way their own Parliament operates.  You will also be aware that nearly the only legislation passed by the Republican House of Representatives has been to oppose abortion and Gay rights, and Paul Ryan’s bizarre budget proposal designed to end Medicare and Medicaid.  They have also blocked nearly every bill designed to address unemployment, housing foreclosures, consumer protection and other economic problems of working Americans, proposed by the White House.  They have also blocked nearly all federal judge appointments, and most appointments of senior administrative personnel who are essential to running federal government agencies. They want to make certain federal agencies aren’t working well.  Despite the fact that from 60-70% of Americans agree with the basic objections raised by the “Occupy/We are the 99%” group, the Republicans in Congress have decided to ignore the public will. They hope to demonstrate the Athenian ideal of one-person-one vote democracy is now hopelessly defunct.

During a recent Iraqi parliament session, it was announced the Parliament will be on holiday until November 20th.  That’s right: Despite continuing political stalemate regarding major issues facing the nation, Iraqi lawmakers will not meet for another 6 weeks or so. Ostensibly, the reason for the long holiday is the fact that it coincides with the pilgrimage to Mecca in early November. It is expected that a large number of deputies will actually be out of the country making deals with foreign businesses and governments.  If this sounds close to home, it is basically the same strategy of the Republicans in the US House of Representatives, which is the party of the Evangelical Christian Religious Right, whose goal is to demonstrate that democratic government by elected officials can no longer work in America.  The goal of the Religious Right in the US is the same as the Shia Ayatollahs in Iraq and the theocracy in Iran, to create a government with the superficial appearance of democracy run by major corporations and extremely conservative religious groups, a total merging of plutocracy and theocracy.
Thomas Jefferson and John Adams must be turning over in their graves.

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