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The Janitorial Outlook
by Jan Sand
2007-04-15 10:03:16
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The concept of democracy, in one form or another, has been around for a very long time and in its early manifestation in Ancient Greece it has been denigrated for being based on slavery.

When democracy was set up in the United States it declared itself a government of free men and documented that all men are born free and equal and should therefore be treated thus under the law. But, as today in this and other social matters, there was a heavy vein of hypocrisy inlaid within the legalities of the country.

For, as in Ancient Greece, slavery was thoroughly integrated into the economy, not only in the American south but in many northern cities, such as New York, as well.

After a frightfully bloody civil war some of the officially accepted inequalities were formally eliminated but it took over one hundred years after that to sweep away some of the worst injustices of racism. But even a brief glance at the current situation will reveal there is still a great deal to be changed fifty years on from there before even a reasonable semblance of equal treatment can be realized.

The delusion of human equality was but one of the many inspirational foundations upon which the American republic was founded. Government anywhere is based on the actualities of finance and economics heavily spiced with tradition and the realities of groups in power at the time of establishment.

In those early days of the late seventeen hundreds when power throughout the world mostly rested in the hands of royalty and the aristocracy, democracy seemed an innovation not necessarily a good thing, in spite of its forebears in other countries and other times. (Read more on Wikipedia)

Just as the capitalist powers felt threatened by the rise of communism in Russia, so the prevailing powers looked with some distress at the establishment of the American republic. Subsequently the bloody French revolution did nothing to allay their fears.

And prior to the formalized acceptance of the system within the USA there was some discussion of setting up an American kingdom with George Washington as sovereign (which he quickly rejected). The quality of the relationship of the US president to the country has been somewhat hazy ever since as pointedly exemplified by the current President, G.W. Bush, who has been intent throughout his terms in bloating his powers to the point of taking over some vital powers previously specifically allocated to Congress.

It is not unreasonable to wonder if the basic conception of the presidency might be at fault as the basis for problems of presidential power. Perhaps, as a system comparison, the royal prerogative of a president is way off the mark in a democracy and it might be interesting to look for other social arrangements as the basis for government.

A good many of us in many countries live in apartment houses. Some own their apartments and some rent, but there is usually one man hired to see to it that the place remains in good condition and when breakdowns occur or when a tenant misbehaves the "super" (for superintendent) or janitor or talonmies (in Finland) intervenes. A good one must combine the various talents of a plumber, an electrician, a carpenter, a painter, a metalworker and especially, a diplomat.

The super, bereft of red cape and blue skin-tight suit, will unplug a drain, rewire a lamp, change a fuse, patch and paint a wall, and intervene politely if there is too much noise or the danger of a fire. At Christmas or other holidays he will appreciate a couple of bucks and a greeting card and even, at times, calm down domestic troubles.

But he knows enough not to bust down the front door or sneak into the apartment for an invasion of privacy when you're not there. He will not listen in to private telephone conversations or steam open letters to get at private matters.

He is an employee of the system, not its ruler, although he will see to it that everybody conforms to mutually accepted rules. He is definitely not a dictator or a tin god. And if he misbehaves he is promptly kicked out.

On a national level when a country mistreats its natural resources, permits national disasters to go untended, allows the infrastructure that keeps a nation strong such as the roads and transportation systems, the educational system, the financial system, the health system, the defense system fall into disrepair, it is obvious that the guy in charge is not doing his job. He is a lousy janitor.

And he should be promptly kicked out.

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