Embarking on A Democratic Revolution… Or Just Continuing One

Democracy embodies a natural human desire for self governance, where the will of the people direct and control the actions of the government.  This is an ideal that is difficult to implement for the maximum benefit.  The challenge in democracy is balancing of desires and priorities for the group being governed.  I think the key ingredient for a successful democracy is education.   When the general public elects their representatives, they should know the facts of who they are electing and for what purpose, as well as the consequences of their vote.

The founding fathers of the United States of American certainly understood the necessity of public educating and developed educational institutions.  But how have we continued that priority?  The US general public today is not as well informed of governmental responsibilities and issues compared to the 1770’s.  For various reasons, we are more consumed by other activities and spend less time researching politics and our government’s actions.  Could this be one cause for the expanding wage gap between the wealthy and the poor?  Could this also contribute to increasing dissatisfaction for the political system?  Are we resolved to cyclically vote in the opposing party and reject that party when they do not conform to our ideals, instead of learning how to influence our elected officials to bring about the desired changes.  I think part of the problem is that our society is so undereducated about politics that we cannot effectively participate in the conversation.  Journalists perform the role of the people’s voice, guessing at various ideas of the people’s complaints and wishes without really understanding what is desired.  Today’s society has changed dramatically since the time of our founding fathers, and our culture must adapt to the current social and political challenges.  Just as we need to simplify the tax code and the health care system to meet our priorities and expectations, we must re-evaluate each segment of government to update the system for modern times.

I believe in the ideal of democracy and hope that all nations can benefit from its strengths.  Each form of government has it’s own strengths and characteristics.  One of the strengths of democracy is the promotion of Human Rights within the culture.  Maybe this is why so many people believe democracy to be the best system of government and the attraction of middle eastern cultures to governmental reform.  This week/month we’re witness history in the making, as democracy spreads across middle eastern countries and the people of those countries gain influence over their government.  I hope they are prepared for the responsibility they now face.  And I hope we (citizens of the US) are willing to address our shortcomings to improve the state of our Democracy.


4 comments on “Embarking on A Democratic Revolution… Or Just Continuing One

  1. The education of the general populace, right now, is under the control of the media. As fortunate as America is with all its advanced technology, sometimes it presents itself in an adversarial position as in the free press. Concurrently, the bicameral political system in our country today does not work. This is the essence of our problems, for, the general American is (whether they know it or not,) fairly centrist, yet, we have these two diametrically opposed parties that attempt to run our country. Now, in response to your observations, which are very accurate, I would add that, since the advent of television, our culture has increasingly ceased to educate themselves and let others do it for them, ergo: TV.
    If you go back through all the elected Presidents you can see a dramatic break in the election process in this country. It is so blatantly obvious as well, that it astounds me how insidious it is, and how it continues to subvert our political system.

    From the moment television became a household item, elections in the United States has never been the same. From Eisenhower on, there has not been a single President elected who did not win without being the most charismatic candidate. What exactly do I mean? Just what the word implies. Let’s take a look.

    J.F.K. vs. Nixon
    L.B.J. vs. Goldwater
    Nixon vs. Hubert Humphrey
    Nixon vs. McGovern
    Carter vs. Ford
    Reagan vs. Carter
    Regan vs. Mondale
    Bush vs. Dukakis
    Clinton vs. Bush
    Clinton vs. Dole
    Bush vs. Gore
    Bush vs. Kerry
    Obama vs. McCain.

    These are the elections in the new era of media. Take a good hard look at that list and tell me I’m wrong? There are many aspects to what makes a candidate more charismatic than another. No longer was it important to read and learn about the candidates, all you had to do was turn on the news and see for yourself. This is when our political ideals turned from pragmatic to populist. From that point on in history, the ignorant American public voted with their eyes, not their ears; their looks not their brains; their eloquence not their experience. As long as the media in this country holds as much power as it does, no president will ever be elected based on nothing more than good looks, public speaking and his social pedigree. The days of our democracy being run by the wisest, most educated person, are long since past, and they shant return again.

  2. I agree that charisma certainly is playing a stronger role for the candidates in the age of TV. But I don’t think that it can win over a minimum standard of education/knowledge. Palin for example is better looking than Obama and certainly charismatic. I don’t think it’s enough to win her the Republican bid for President for the 2012 elections though.

    From my reading, the last intellectual President was John Adams. During his tenure, political parties took over the election process and politics has been divided ever since.

    I would describe modern voting as people who are deciding with their heart, rather than their head. They latch onto the rhetoric of whichever candidate appeals to their most desperate needs, and yes they do not perform their own research and evaluation to determine if the candidate will attempt to accomplish those promises.

    The two parties certainly have moved away from action to benefit the general public.

  3. That is certainly an interesting point concerning Palin and Obama, however, charisma is so much more that looks – Obama would have the edge still, for Palin is not a charismatic. But you are right, they do vote with their hearts, or more aptly, their hopes. Yet, what I can’t understand is, since the heart is really inside the head, metaphoricaly speaking, how does that work? 😉

    Yes, the two parties seem more interested in battling eachother than in fixing our problems.

  4. “I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.” – Thomas Jefferson

    By the way, bipartisan “duelling” (two-party political system) is indeed a fascinating spectacle for the politically naive, and it does indeed distract from any kind of serious critique (dare we say “panem et circenses”?). The resulting winner will invariably favour the impresario, backed up by the money of the millions of simple-hearted ‘santa clauses’. What were once useful past political movements have degenerated into ruses. Now, with little effective difference in approach, the so-called “business model” connives at maintaining the financial status quo, the “Big Money”, and is also cautious not to allow “strangers” into the powerful “club”. This “closed joint-stock company” is intended not for the “plebeians” who are creating the nation’s wealth but only for the business elite that is appropriating it “on legal grounds” by its own laws; with that, the degrees of their freedom are separated by the thickness of a purse. And what about a “democratic society of equal opportunity”?

    This is not democracy, as Abraham Lincoln described it, that is to say “government of the people, by the people and for the people”!

    The development of civilization makes democracy and the humanization of society inevitable. The best minds tirelessly look for a new and effective political form of government that would adequately represent today’s changing society. The solution is near and the necessary resources to establish a new form of government are already available in society.

    A new, multipolar political system as a real democratic revolution.

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