Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Save Democracy! Elect new Congressmen!

I have been making fun of our congressmen, particularly the Republicans. They (both the Republicans and Democrats) seem hopelessly deadlocked and unable to govern.

We need to remember that Democracy is fragile.

Giving power to the people means that the people must be able to do the job.

Man’s first experiments with democracy were shortlived. Ancient
Athens and other lesser Greek city states were able to sustain theirs for less than 200 years. Athens produced one of democracies most famous critics. Plato said “that the most aggravated form of tyranny arises out of the most extreme liberty”. His answer was a benevolent philosopher king. I don’t think there are too many of them available these days.

Rome attempted to establish a very limited democracy (only aristocrats could vote or serve in the senate) until Caesar decided to cross the Rubicon in 49 BC, and Augustus declared himself Roman Emperor in 29 BC. After
Rome, democracy died until it was resurrected and finally put into practice in the U.S. in the eighteenth century.

I shouldn’t ignore
England. In the eleventh century the people were given some rights but remained subject to the will of the sovereign and the aristocrats.

Our Democracy has lasted 200 years but I am afraid it may be reaching its end. Democracy requires that its citizens curb their appetites, postponing gratification for the sake of the long term and be willing to sacrifice self interest for the common good. Americans no longer seem able to do this.

Congressmen’s insistence on getting their own way reflects the will of the people who elect them. Until a short time ago I could have a serious thoughtful discussion about economic or political issues with most of my friends. I still can, but the number of people I can do that with is quickly shrinking and the numbers who become rabid at the mention of a political issue (in particular something positive about our President) is rapidly growing.

The controversies seem not to be limited to Democrats and Republicans but exist between Republicans and Republicans as well. While it is painful - I have been watching the Republican presidential debates. Each candidate has his own jobs plan, his own plan for dealing with the deficit, his own solution for Social Security and Medicare his own way of changing taxes and his own way to solve every other problem facing America. They do agree, however, that everything President Obama has done or will do was or will be wrong.

They also all agree that the job killing National Health Act must be repealed. They don’t even apologize to the 50 million Americans who will continue to be without health care insurance. Any attempt at rational discussion of health care cause these people to go ballistic. What’s amazing is any mention of Medicare reform has the same affect on the same people.

What is the answer?

During my lifetime we have had extremists on the right and on the left.
America has succeeded because the vast majority of us are in the middle. These are the thoughtful, intelligent and educated, the ones I can still have a meaningful conversation with.

We need to select candidates who recognize that they are fallible like the rest of us. We need to vote for the candidate that does not have extreme views, whether that candidate is Republican or Democrat. We need to elect the candidate who can and will compromise in order to move the country forward. We must elect candidates who consider doing the right thing more important than winning the next election. It means that we must reject tea party candidates as well as candidates from the extreme left.

No comments:

Post a Comment