Americans Have Simplistic Worldview Of Democracy And Politics

The following Letter To The Editor was sent by reader Kimball Shinkoskey.
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The following Letter To The Editor was sent by reader Kimball Shinkoskey.

America’s knee jerk solution to political problems like in Haiti today has always been to hold democratic elections as soon as possible.

This was our approach in Afghanistan, and it will be our approach in Cuba if the communist dictatorship is ever overthrown there. This simplified worldview reflects our own weak understanding of what real democracy requires.

In our country today, we believe we are doing democracy when we merely show up to vote. That’s it. The rest of our time can be spent working or immersing ourselves in pleasure.

Many Americans want an even simpler solution to politics than this. They would rather a populist leader just seize the day (the election day), and rule however he or she wants.

But real democracies must accomplish several things over and above elections: agree upon a non-partisan constitutional law; raise a generation or two of young people well educated in history and political science; nurture a highly ethical mixed religious/secular culture; find candidates who are not interested in profit or power, and limit their terms of office; rein-in the wealthy class; and keep the police (regulatory) power largely on the local level.

In reality, ordinary Sarahs, Shakiras, and Shanices, Johnnys, Juans and Jamals must personally participate in everyday government like there is no tomorrow, because there will be no tomorrow if they don’t. 

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