The Democratic National Committee (DNC) has learned the harsh reality that lies and wrongdoings cannot be hidden with the release of over 20,000 hacked emails by Wikileaks, which demonstrates the Party’s efforts to suppress the revival(s) of Democratic Presidential Nominee Hillary Clinton. The fact that Russia was likely responsible for the hacking demonstrates how information can be used to influence strategic elections. Where the DNC’s wrongs were uncovered by the efforts of hackers to the benefit of voters, the strategic, one-sided release of the emails allows hackers to bolster the standing of Russian-preferred candidates.
Clearly, Russia’s alleged manipulation of hacked documents serves as an example of how the strategic release of key information can be used to manipulate public sentiment. The goal of Russia is to paint American democracy as a lie and showcase America’s shortcomings with this one-sided use of leaked information. At the same time, Russia suppresses the flow of information to suppress criticism of Russia’s problems and wrongdoings. Although the strategic release and suppression of information is nothing new, the massive amount of information available on the internet leaves a false impression that all the facts are known, even if it cannot be found.
Government needs the People to trust government and the People need to be able to trust government. Unfortunately, the need to trust government is too often misaligned with the reality that government cannot be trusted. Governments are big machines with numerous parts, so no one can expect all public officials to be trustworthy. The most pressing issue is, however, a culture that rationalizes dishonesty and misdoings in the pursuit alleged vital “national interests.” Terms, such as “national interests,” are used by public officials to rationalize whatever policy fits their political orientation and the special interests of that support their political aspirations.
The role of modern government is to properly address and balance the interests of all the People(s) of a nation. This requires the People have effective representation of their views and interests in government. It also requires a culture of transparency where public officials understand even the deepest of government secrets will eventually be revealed to the public. When temporary obscurity is needed, good faith efforts, which actually reflect national interests, are essential to prove the trustworthiness of public officials. While the role of dishonesty in domestic policies is obvious, the impact of dishonesty in foreign policy is just as problematic.
When members of a military attempt to overthrow their own civilian government, it is called a coup. When journalists, educators, academics, and judges oppose the policies and views of sitting government officials, it is democracy at work. As the Turkish President retaliates against 50,000 Recep Tayyip Erdogan critics in the wake of the July 15th coup, democracy is no longer at work in Turkey. It is simply a superficial means of legitimizing his continued rule as he uses an unlikely coup against him to consolidate and solidify power across Turkey under a state of emergency. The Turks may fear the brutality of a military dictatorship, but Erdogan is just as much a threat to them.
With that in mind, Western governments must decide for themselves if continued cooperation with the Erdogan government actually serves their interests. Erdogan may have been democratically elected and he may still enjoy support from a majority of the Turkish people, yet it is the Peoples of the West who must be decide if they still wish to do business with Turkey under the leadership of a man like Erdogan. In democracies, no decision is ever final and policies are embraced based on the sustained support of the People. At this time, the Peoples of the West are watching Erdogan’s response to a coup and they see something is amiss.
Governments that support, or simply overlook, race-based discrimination foster a lack of social cohesion, a lack of representation, abuse, and all around improper governance. As such, racism institutionalized by the Law and the criminal justice system cannot be tolerated. A legacy of racism, however, places black Americans in dysfunctional communities where they are more likely to commit or become the victims of violent crimes. This is why reoccurring tragedies, such as the Dallas Police Shootings and the Baton Rogue Police Killings, as well as the Philando Castile Killing and the Alton Sterling Murder, provoke massive protests and heated public debates on racism.
Unfortunately, racism is alive and well throughout the entirety of the world. Although Westerners tend to think of racism as discrimination between whites, blacks, and browns, racism goes far keeper than skin color. White Europeans may be have overcome their racial divisions with political institutions like European Union, but prejudice against the Roma, Polish, Irish, Jews, Italians, Germans, Spaniards, Greeks, and others can be found across the developed world. In places like India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, the racism of the brown peoples is most apparent where socially and legally enforced caste systems ensure racism is thoroughly institutionalized.
This is a special edition from The Washington Outsider.
The Friday, July 16, 2016, coup against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan failed to garner sufficient military and popular support to morph in a sustainable campaign. In announcing a so-called “Peace Council” had seized power in Turkey, the perpetrators of the coup issued a statement saying they had acted, because the Erdogan government had "eroded" democratic and secular rule, which is true. They intended to draw up a new constitution as soon as possible, maintain public order, guarantee freedom of all citizens, regardless of religion, race and language, and impose (presumably temporary) martial law.
Despite the expressed intend to reclaim democracy for Turkey, the cultural trauma of past coups compelled the Turkish People to lash out against those responsibility for the coup. Although public opposition to the coup, and the rebels' largely nonviolent retreat, ensured its end, Turkey’s political problems are far from over. Quite frankly, Erdogan is to blame for this cup attempt. Despite efforts by Erdogan and his supporters to frame the coup as an attack on democracy and its defeat as a victory for democracy, Erdogan’s survival as President is as much, if not more, of a threat to democracy.
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