First of all I want to express that I’m incredibly grateful and lucky to live in a country which has a democracy, and also to live in a time period where women have the vote.
But wouldn’t it be super awesome and, you know, right, if we had even more than that?
If we had an actual democracy?
I heard somebody saying, the other week, that true democracy means the people get to vote on every law that’s to be passed. Not just on what ”lesser evil” party they prefer out of an increasingly similar three or two choices. In the UK it’s not mandatory to vote, and many people don’t. ukpollingreport.co.uk says “Turn-out for the last few elections has only been around 60%”. One might deduce from this statistic that just under half the populace is contented with things the way they are and are happy to let everyone else take the reins. Anyone with their eyes and ears open will contest this however, saying it’s not that they’re contented it’s just that none of the options (parties) appeal to them. Or they think it won’t make a difference. Or they think the polls will be skewed. Whatever the reason, the average Jo has much to complain about in terms of the government, and little in the way of warm fuzzy feelings of trust.
And is it any wonder we don’t feel our vote has much power?
Prime Ministers and Presidents aren’t under any legal obligation to do anything they say they will during their election campaigns. How ridiculous is that? Plus the two or three main parties seem to get more similar all the time. And then all governments appear to have an outrageous weakness for corporations’ checkbooks. It’s almost like they’re more interested in money and power than the needs of the people… Hmm…
And then there’s all this controversy over the silly zero-heavy salaries they take home while the rest of us are staggering about in the grips of a recession.
I can’t help thinking perhaps all this politician malarkey is a bit of a waste of money.
Before you write me off as a crazy anarchist, let me make it clear that I do actually still want a government. Just a radically different political system. I still want a local MP to represent my views and interests. I still want specialists like the Minister of Justice, Minister of Health etc. But I feel it would be fair if we all voted on every law and policy.
I know what people will say to this:
“People aren’t well informed enough to know what’s good for them!”
Mm. Okay. But is that really a surprising accident? Aren’t we in, the West, conditioned to be stupid and thoughtless? Isn’t our education system tunnel-visioned on passing exams and securing a mind-numbing but well-paid office job? And isn’t our media stuffed full of, I’m sorry, inane bull***t, celebrity gossip, trivial sports statistics, barbie-doll beauty and ”reality”?
If we had the right (actually I think it should be mandatory) to vote on everything, then it should be the responsibility of the media to provide well-rounded education on all of the issues covered. There should also be regular free-for-all talks by specialists and coffee-shop discussions in every town. There should be discussion shows on TV where experts and ‘ordinary’ people with different views hash it out. There should be a plethora of events, talks, public debates, news and blogs to harbor a vibrant public sphere. People should be presented with the resources they need to form an intelligent opinion.
What do you think?