Letters to the Editor,
The Daly Yomiuri,
Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8055
Governments govern us. That is why they are called that. They do not “rule” us, at least not properly speaking in a democracy. But two articles appearing on March 11th demonstrate the common lack of political understanding in democracies by confusing the business of government with “ruling.” “Spain’s ruling Socialists win election” describes the party of Socialist Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero ruling Spainrather than governing it on behalf of, or in the name of the ruler, King Carlos. Also, “Malta’s Nationalists claim victory in election”describes the governing party in that island country as a “long-ruling”party. Similarly in Japan, where government by the Liberal Democratic Party is occasionally described as “rule” by the party.
Some might say that I am describing a difference that makes no difference, since the word “ruling” properly applies to rule-making systems and infrastructure and that in a democracy, where sovereignty lies with the people and their elected representatives the word is neither inaccurate nor inappropriate. But I disagree. The power to govern is derived from majority consent of the public, of which I am a part. Politicians work for me, and they are my employees so long as their salaries and livelihood derive from my tax yen. So I buck at the notion of being “ruled” by people or organizations whose authority derives from me myself.
Only myself and my god rule me. The government governs me, which is hardly the same thing.
But I could be wrong.