Around 550 BC, the citizens of Athensand surrounding Attica invented the first DEMOCRACY, meaning "Power" (kratos) of the "People" (demos) in Greek. The formula was genuinely intended on having every citizen participate in government, all 5,000 or so of them. That was easy then but how would you do that now? Not long after that, as cities swelled and became states and humanity head into the 1st century and beyond, we do not hear much about democracy anymore, but instead tyrants, dictators, monarchs and emperors governed all the way to the American and French Revolutions in the 18th century. I guess democracy was found pretty difficult to implement in the world! Even after the French Revolution of 1789, there was a return to emperors and kings until the mid-19th century. Not an easy concept! As a matter of fact most of humanity is still not democratic in 2013!
Even in self-proclaimed democratic societies like the USA, there are major problems with the concept. I will review a few with you. First and foremost, the concept implies that all 320 million Americans participate in government and that is obviously not the case. Although there is some "hope" recently as more and more Americans work FOR the government. At least let us visit the "one person one vote" dogma. Everybody knows the loopholes in this. About 20% of Americans are illiterate and at least as much are GROSSLY UNINFORMED or MISINFORMED so what may I ask you are they voting about or whom are they voting for? Then we have the notorious people who literally bought their office or position (I am sure the Greeks did not intend that): Starting with Perrot (he did not win an election but caused Bush to lose his. That is awfully lots of power for one guy); Corzine bought the governorship of New Jersey for 65 million of his own money and we know what disaster that was; Bloomberg bought his mayorship and wants more terms; Romney kind of boughtMassachusetts governorship as he only got paid $1 a year. Anytime huge sums of the money, especially private, are pored into an election, it inherently defeats the very principle of democracy. Part of it is the "bought" media bias which distorts facts, edits tapes and highlights whatever they choose. The so-called free democratic media thus becomes the tyrant!
Democracy is supposed to rule by majority of the votes but it really is run by a form of Applause meter, were the nosiest wins regardless of numbers (the proverbial squeaky wheel). The more noise, demonstrations, media (and of course social media) coverage, the more you are likely our point across and influence legislators. As a rule, minorities tend to be VERY noisy this way and they often get the grease, again regardless of whether they are majority or not. Hence the proverbial SilentMajority. So if the majority is often so silent what is the meaning of democracy?
The politicians cater to minorities because they tend to get them over the top. Recent elections have been quasi-decided by the female students of one Ohio county or the senior citizens of one Floridacounty (majority?). Before that there is the cohort of undecided states about 10 of them representing 10% of the population (majority?). I cannot remember the last presidential election my vote in NJ counted for anything. Every two years we actually are in a presidential election mode, catering to minorities and cajoling interest group so when is the so-called power of the people being actually exercised? We might as well be in perpetual election and campaign mode. Some may argue we have reached that point already in our national politics.
In summary only a handful of people end up running your life in our democracy and you get no say. You can shout and scream all you want (1st amendment)...all for naught, unless you are a minority! In terms of give and take, negotiating positions and exchange of opinions, or people participation in government we are at a total stand still, so much that minorities end up having the final if not the only say (it reminds me about that movie with Kevin Costner holding that last tie-breaking vote and all the attention he got). We might as well trade what we have for a benevolent dictator who at least gets things done like Vladimir Putin (Gerard Depardieu and Brigitte Bardot are joining him!). Some may think we are going in this direction slowly and surely with the socialization of America.
Where is McCarthy when you need him?