“Let us never forget that government is ourselves and not an alien power over us. The ultimate rulers of our democracy are not a President and senators and congressmen and government officials, but the voters of this country.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt
“Dictatorship naturally arises out of democracy, and the most aggravated form of tyranny and slavery out of the most extreme liberty.” – Plato
“The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.” – Winston Churchill
“Democracy is the road to socialism.” – Karl Marx
“Democracy… while it lasts is more bloody than either aristocracy or monarchy. Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There is never a democracy that did not commit suicide.” – John Adams
Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other. – John Adams
Democracy vs. Meritocracy
Two years before George Washington became our first President, the following quote attributed to Scottish history professor Alexander Fraser Tytler, Lord Woodhouselee (15 October 1747 – 5 January 1813) in 1787, seems to portray an accurate reflection of what has occurred during the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA’s recent 150 years of existence as a Democracy:
An honest appraisal of our country’s downward spiral is necessary to begin the process of redemption. We have continually voted ourselves increased benefits, dependent upon the printing presses of the Federal Reserve to sustain our country’s Ponzi scheme. We have pawned our future and the bill will eventually come due.
In discussing the Athenian democracy, after noting that a great number of the populations were actually enslaved, he went on to say, “Nor were the superior classes in the actual enjoyment of a rational liberty and independence. They were perpetually divided into factions, which servilely ranked themselves under the banners of the contending demagogues; and these maintained their influence over their partisans by the most shameful corruption and [campaign contribution] bribery, of which the means were supplied alone by the plunder of the public money”.
The chronological sequence of United States democracy:
From bondage to spiritual faith (1760 to 1769)
- King George III becomes King of England
- Currency Act, Sugar Act, Stamp Act, Quartering Act, Townshend Act passed by Parliament
- Sons of Liberty formed by John Adams, Samuel Adams, Paul Revere, John Hancock, Patrick Henry, among others.
From spiritual faith to great courage (1770 to 1783)
- Boston massacre
- Samuel Adams organizes the Committees of Correspondence
- Parliament passes the Tea Act
- Boston Tea Party
- The First Continental Congress
- Battle of Bunker Hill
- Thomas Paine publishes Common Sense
- Revolutionary War rages for six years
- British surrender at Yorktown
- Treaty of Paris ends Revolutionary War
From courage to liberty (1784 to 1860)
- Constitutional Convention established a Meritocratic government
- Constitution ratified by 13 states
- George Washington elected President
- Bill of Rights passed
- Fugitive Slave Act passed
- Louisiana Purchase
- Robert Fulton invents steamboat
- War of 1812
- Monroe Doctrine
- President Andrew Jackson battles bankers which leads to the Panic of 1837
- U.S. Mexican War
- California gold rush
- Compromise of 1850
- Dred Scott Decision
From liberty to abundance (1860 to 1969)
- Abraham Lincoln elected President
- Confederate states secede from the Union
- Emancipation Proclamation
- Civil War rages for four years
- Union is restored as a Democracy
- 13th Amendment abolishes slavery and all male citizens made eligible voters.
- Civil Rights Act of 1866
- The Act of 1871 created THE UNITED STATES as a private corporation
- The original Constitution: “The Constitution for the united states of America” and the altered corporate version reads: “THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” using all capital letters.
- First Trans-Continental Railroad
- Alexander Graham Bell invents the telephone
- Industrial Revolution
- General Electric founded
- Spanish American War
- U.S. Steel founded
- Airplane invented
- Automobile invented
- Federal Reserve created as a private corporation with foreign stockholders
- World War I
- Great Depression
- New Deal programs implemented by FDR
- Golden Gate Bridge completed
- World War II
- Atomic bomb used to end war with Japan
- Marshall Plan rebuilds Europe & Japan at the expense of US steel companies.
- US emerges from the war as the only great economic power
- Bretton Woods Conference establishes the World Bank and the IMF
- US dollar emerges as the preponderant global reserve-currency
- Cold War
- Korean War
- Interstate highway system built
- Civil Rights Movement
- Kennedy’s Executive Order 11110 authorized the issuance of silver certificates
- John F. Kennedy assassinated
- Vietnam War
- Great Society programs implemented
- Civil Rights Act of 1964
- Martin Luther King assassinated
- Neil Armstrong walks on the moon
From abundance to complacency (1970 to 1989)
- Roe vs. Wade
- President Nixon resigns in disgrace
- Oil embargo
- Ronald Reagan elected President
- Military buildup and tax cuts
- Fall of the Soviet Union
From complacency to apathy (1990 to 2000)
- Gulf War
- Bill Clinton elected President
- Stock market boom
- Gridlock between Congress & President leads to budget surpluses
- President Clinton acquitted in impeachment trial
From apathy to dependence
(2001 to 2007)
- George W. Bush elected President
- Nasdaq stock bubble bursts
- 9/11 attack
- Alan Greenspan lowers rates to 1%
- Invasion of Afghanistan
- Department of Homeland security created
- Invasion of Iraq
- Hurricane Katrina
- Home prices double
- Financial derivatives grow to over $100 trillion
From dependence into dictatorship (2008 to ????)
- Housing prices collapse
- Financial firms collapse
- Federal Reserve intervene to prop up the worldwide financial system
- Government bailouts of financial firms and auto manufacturers
- Federal Reserve & U.S. Treasury commit over $8 trillion of taxpayer funds
- Barrack Obama elected President
- Immediate borrowing & stimulus packages exceeding $1 trillion are discussed
- Federal Reserve lowers rates to below 1%”
- Financial derivatives grow to over $1,000 trillion
China is a good example of a Meritocratic Government, which the rulers should be chosen for their superior management and leadership abilities, and not because of their wealth or birth.
The 4th Annual Session of the 12th National Committee
Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC)
Yu Zhengsheng, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), presides over the closing meeting of the fourth session of the 12th CPPCC National Committee at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China, March 14, 2016. (Xinhua/Lan Hongguang)
Chinese top political advisor Yu Zhengsheng underscored the Communist Party of China (CPC) leadership on Monday as the country “enters the home stretch” for its 2020 goal. Yu Zhengsheng is the first Chairman of the CPPCC that is not a member of the CPC.
Addressing the closing meeting of the annual session of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), Yu said China is at a decisive stage in the journey toward building a moderately prosperous society in all respects by 2020.
“The curtains of history have been lifted and the arduous tasks have been bestowed on our shoulders,” Yu told more than 2,000 fellow advisors.
He said the country is “sure to claim victory” under the CPC leadership, with the advantages of socialism with Chinese characteristics, and based on the solid material foundations over the past decades.
China has set 2020 as the target year to double its GDP and per capita personal income from the 2010 level before the CPC marks its 100th anniversary of founding in 1921.
Earlier this month, China unveiled a draft outline of the 13th Five-Year Plan on national economy and social development, which set average annual GDP growth target at above 6.5 percent from 2016 to 2020. The draft will be submitted to lawmakers for a vote on Wednesday.
Yu, to this end, told political advisors to focus their work on providing suggestions on and making contributions to the country’s development during the 13th Five-Year Plan period, and on the 2020 goal.
They must make in-depth research, focus on political consultation, and step up effective oversight, in order to offer more insightful suggestions and pool strength for building a moderately prosperous society in all respects, he said.
The top political advisor urged CPPCC members to uphold the system of multi-party cooperation and political consultation under the leadership of the CPC, and adhere to the concepts of innovative, coordinated, green, open and shared development.
They shall become more aware of the need to uphold political integrity, keep in mind the bigger picture, and enhance the sense of duty, Yu said.
The CPPCC is a patriotic united front organization of the Chinese people, serving as a key mechanism for multi-party cooperation and political consultation under the leadership of the CPC.
Seen as a major manifestation of socialist democracy, the CPPCC serves to conduct political consultation, exercise democratic supervision and participate in the discussion and handling of state affairs.
On Monday, the national political advisors approved a report on the work of the Standing Committee of the 12th CPPCC National Committee over the past year, and a report on the proposals submitted by CPPCC National Committee members to the annual session this year.
A political resolution was also adopted at the meeting.
Functions and Powers of the National People’s Congress
To amend the Constitution and oversee its enforcement
Only the NPC has the power to amend the Constitution. Amendments to the Constitution must be proposed by the NPC Standing Committee or by one-fifth or more of the NPC deputies, and they must be passed by a two-thirds majority vote of all deputies. The Constitution of the People’s Republic of China was adopted at the First Session of the First NPC in 1954 and comprehensively revised by the NPC in 1982. The current Constitution is the one promulgated and put into effect after this revision. Since then, the NPC has partially amended the Constitution on four occasions, in 1988, 1993, 1999 and 2004. To defend the dignity of the Constitution and guarantee its enforcement, the NPC also enjoys the power to oversee its enforcement.
To enact and amend basic laws governing criminal offences, civil affairs, state organs and other matters.
The NPC has enacted the Criminal Law, the Criminal Procedure Law, the Organic Law of the NPC, the Organic Law of the State Council, the Organic Law of Local People’s Congresses and Local People’s Governments, the Organic Law of the People’s Courts, the Organic Law of the People’s Procuratorates, the Law on the Autonomy of Ethnic Minority Region, the Electoral Law, and the Law on Deputies to the NPC and to the Local People’s Congresses. The Marriage Law, the Citizenship Law, the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and the Basic Law of the Macao Special Administrative Region were also enacted by the NPC.
To elect and appoint members to central state organs
The NPC elects the Chairman, Vice Chairmen, Secretary-General and other members of its Standing Committee and the President and the Vice President of the People’s Republic of China. It appoints the Premier of the State Council based on the nomination by the President of the People’s Republic of China and appoints the Vice premiers, State Councilors, Ministers in charge of ministries or commissions, the Governor of the People’s Bank of China, the Auditor-General and the Secretary-General of the State Council based on nominations by the Premier. It elects the Chairman of the Central Military Commission and appoints all other members of the Central Military Commission based on the Chairman’s nominations. It also elects the President of the Supreme People’s Court and the Procurator-General of the Supreme People’s Procuratorate. The NPC has the power to remove from office any of the above-mentioned officials.
To determine major state issues
This work includes examining and approving the report on the plan for national economic and social development and on its implementation; examining the report on the central and local budgets and their implementation and approving the report on the central budget and its implementation; approving the establishment of provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the Central Government; deciding where to establish special administrative regions and what system they should institute; and deciding questions of war and peace. The establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, the Macao Special Administrative Region, Hainan Province and Chongqing Municipality and the building of the Three Gorges Project on the Yangtze River were all decided by the NPC.
China’s Electoral System
There are five central and local levels of people’s congresses in China. They are the National People’s Congress, the people’s congresses of provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the Central Government, the people’s congresses of cities divided into districts, and autonomous prefectures, the people’s congresses of cities not divided into districts, municipal districts, counties and autonomous counties, and the people’s congresses of townships, ethnic minority townships and towns. The people’s congresses at all levels are constituted through democratic elections.
The basic points of China’s electoral system
All citizens of the People’s Republic of China who have reached the age of 18 have the right to vote and stand for election, regardless of ethnic background, race, sex, occupation, family background, religious belief, education level, property status or length of residence. People who have been deprived of their political rights according to law do not have the right to vote and stand for election. One voter has only one vote in each election.
Deputies to the people’s congresses of cities not divided into districts, municipal districts, counties, autonomous counties, townships, ethnic minority townships and towns are elected directly by their constituencies. Deputies to the NPC and the people’s congresses of the provinces, autonomous regions, municipalities directly under the Central Government, cities divided into districts, and autonomous prefectures are elected by the people’s congresses at the next lower level.
All political parties and mass organizations may either jointly or separately recommend candidates to be deputies. Candidates may also be recommended by a minimum of 10 voters in a direct election and 10 deputies in an indirect election.
In both direct and indirect elections, the number of candidates must exceed the number of delegates to be elected and the elections must be competitive. In a direct election, the number of candidates should exceed the number to be elected by one-third to 100%. In an indirect election, the number of candidates should exceed the number to be elected by 20% to 50%.
Voters may vote for a candidate, vote against a candidate, vote for someone else, or abstain. In a direct election, more than half of the eligible voters in the election district must vote in order for the election to be valid, and candidates who receive the votes of a majority of the voters are elected. In an indirect election, candidates receiving the votes of a majority of the deputies voting are elected. The costs of elections are paid for out of the state treasury.
A Story About China’s Democracy
It is early spring, but there is still a chill in the air as Wang Haiyan, wrapped up in a black overcoat, walks up the steps of the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.
National People’s Congress (NPC) deputy Wang, 40, is from a remote village in southwest China’s Chongqing Municipality. Back home she is the secretary of the village branch of the Communist Party of China (CPC).
Wang joined the CPC in 2006. “I have wanted to be a Party member since I was a child. I have always looked up to soldiers and Party members,” she said.
In the same year, she quit her city job in downtown Chongqing and returned to her home village of Fozhen to raise chickens.
In 2010, she bought 5,000 German-breed chickens, which had a much higher added value than the traditional breeds. It was a rewarding experience for Wang and her success story is well known among the villagers.
At the end of the year, she joined the village Party chief election, because she “wanted to do something for others.”
At the community level, CPC leaders are selected by public nominations and direct elections. Candidates must first secure a recommendation from CPC members, the public and CPC organizations, and then the public vote. The CPC branch secretary, vice secretary and members of village CPC committees are all elected in this way.
“I was the only female candidate. They were the current village director, a home appliance seller and a migrant worker,” she said.
In her campaign speech, she promised to help her fellow villagers get rich. She won the election by an unanimous majority.
Since then, under the leadership of Wang and the other village officials, the villagers began to raise the German-breed chickens and grow high value-added vegetables and herbs, transforming the economic landscape from the traditional cultivation of wheat, corn, and rice to a higher value-added agricultural model.
“Usually, I wouldn’t have the chance to wear beautiful clothes like this. I just wear cotton or rubber shoes and old clothes, because I am out in the field working alongside the farmers,” she said, “I was harvesting herbs the day before I came to Beijing.”
At the beginning of 2013, Wang was elected as a NPC deputy. The NPC legislates, oversees the government and elects major State officials.
There are around 2.7 million deputies across all levels, elected either directly, by the public, or indirectly, by NPC deputies. Wang was elected indirectly as a national lawmaker.
In 2013, Wang was re-elected to village Party chief.
Among the nearly 3,000 deputies to the NPC, there are many Party officials like Wang as well as non- CPC representatives. They are from all walks of life, representing the will of the over 1.3 billion Chinese people.
The people’s congress system links the Party to the people, as masters of the country, under the country’s law-based governance.
The deputies maintain a close relationship with the general public. Wang said that as a village Party chief, she must strive to help develop the village. While as a national lawmaker, she must relay the experiences and desires of the people in her area to the NPC, and to turn the will of the public into national policies.
In her spare time, she travels around to see, firsthand, how people live. During the NPC’s annual sessions over the past few years, she called for improvements to the rural environment, construction of rural medical facilities, and preferential policies for new businesses.
Her suggestions have been reflected in policies.
“It proves that the Party is always thinking of the people when it makes policies, and our deputies have to represent the interests of the public,” she said.
Last year, the CPC Central Committee’s Proposal on Formulating the Thirteenth Five-Year Plan (2016-2020) on National Economic and Social Development was adopted at the Fifth Plenum of the 18th CPC Central Committee.
The proposal embodies the wisdom of over 87 million Party members, including Wang Haiyan.
The State Council drafted the outline of the plan on the basis of the Party’s proposal and the draft was submitted to the NPC during the on-going two session.
Next week, Wang, alongside the other deputies will vote on the draft. If endorsed, the plan will become a state will and come into effect upon legal basis.
Every year after the two sessions, Wang would go back to hometown to gather with all the villagers and discuss development path of the village.
Wang said, “What I am considering now is how to develop tourism in our village. We have peach blossom and Osmanthus trees, but we are a little far away from the county, which is a barrier for tourism development.”
“The most urgent thing for me to consider for the moment is how to make our village a preferred tourist destination,” she said.