Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Broken democracy

The principle foundation of a democracy is that the people are governed by their consent, meaning that they have some recourse by which to remove a government that they no longer find exceptable. In the American system, that opportunity comes about via periodic elections.

Yet, here the '06 elections are fast approaching, and we have still not had any national dialogue about our flawed electronic voting system or the questionable nature of the 2000 and 2004 Presidential elections. Then there is the matter of gerrymandered districts which have been redistricted in such a way as to all but fix the outcome of the election. On top of that, we have the wholesale of our democracy where our elected officals are more beholden to the people who give them money than they are to the people whom they are supposed to represent. And to make it worse, we have a press that fails to deliver "the information they need to be free and self-governing."

Do people realize the implications? We give our consent to be governed by the process of voting. If our vote does not count, then we have not given our consent. To be governed without consent, without recourse to remove unwanted officials, is the very defintion of tyranny. Obviously, we're not living under a system of tyranny at the moment, although perhaps it could be said America "leans in that direction." But the aforementioned problems should give us cause for concern, and steps should be taken to remedy the problem before it gets any worse.

What is to be done? I expect it will take the people making a lot of noise. The press has failed us in this matter, so firstly pressure needs to be put on media outlets to cover this issue. This can probably be accomplished at the local level more efficiently than at the national. After that, I'm not sure. But becoming aware of the problem is the first step.

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