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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Democracy in America
How realistic are our expectations for the American political system?

You may notice that my beliefs most often align with what is generally considered "liberal". And it is true that I have found myself generally agreeing with Democratic social policy decisions as opposed to Republicans, but the time has long since come for someone, anyone, to look at our political system with a measure of logic. Put away the party politics for a moment and you will begin to see a clearer picture of our political system.

The reality of American politics is that far from being a true democracy, or even a representative democracy, we are tied to a two-party system strewn with electoral colleges, legislating justices, and sketchy elections. There has never in the history of the world been a true democracy. Athens, a shining example of democratic ideals for more than 2,000 years, didn’t allow neighboring city states to vote when they conquered them, and they completely excluded slaves! Only a small percentage of the city’s inhabitants were actually considered fit to vote.

No other government until our own came much closer than Athens.

Despite 200 years of reality, Americans still balk at anything that restricts their personal freedoms in any way. Unfortunately, we have become so wrapped up in the system surrounding government that we begin to lose sight of the objective of government: To guarantee the well being of the greatest possible number of the people it is responsible for.

It also disgusts me to see people worried about moral discrepancies within a political party instead of worrying about which candidate has the tact, experience, and mental agility to lead a world power into the next decade. Just because someone is ‘pro-life’ or ‘pro-choice’ doesn’t mean they know a thing about being president! Granted, moral and religious sentiments play a part in any society, but why are we allowing these feelings to interfere with what must necessarily be a logic based decision?

A lot of this goes back to the distorted priorities of the American people as a whole. People complain about government and do not vote, cry out for social services and do not pay taxes, and promote full employment while complaining about inflation. But in the end, it’s not about ideology for most people; it’s about the day-to-day reality of their lives, and the lives of their children. This is a fact known in every corner of the globe, and backed by thousands of years of social evolution.

American politicians, and the people who support them, will be misleading the American people until they can achieve a transparency of intent about the basic ingredients for “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”.

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