Friday, January 6, 2012

Democracy Broken

Tabloid Democracy 
This is a new term I use to describe what we have.  Most of what people know is based on the media.  The media gets more viewers and interest and thus money when they show political horse races and conflict.

Here is a sample from the 2012 New Hampshire Republican primary debates.
The media makes as much conflict as possible by the questions they ask, but also covers only the conflict.

The problems that happen when leaders are trying to legislate are amplified when the media swoops in to catch the conflict because then rather than solve the problem the leaders have to play to the base, which is now watching a play-by-play on TV.  And anything "non-conservative" for example will be running in negative campaign ads.

Pinocchio Democracy
Our current Democracy is not driven by facts.  Now, not everything is a lie.  But, what drives it is not concerned with that.  The objective sometimes is to just spread a message so loud and so broadly through so many channels that it becomes more present reality to people... than what actual reality is.  So Pinocchio Democracy is when through artfulness and steady expression a leader, party, or media outlet presents something so continuously that non-reality becomes reality.

When you see them circling the wagons, hit the fact checker sites immediately.  Don't just fall for things.  Most people do just fall for things.

Minority of the Minority Rule Democracy 
It used to be said that majority rule is the worst form of Democracy.  Because when one group gets power and they are bigger, they make all the decisions and cut out the other groups.  Iraq looks a little bit like that.  Sounds pretty bad eh?  Well, line that up to what we have today.

Republicans have the minority of power.  But, the majority in the House of Representatives.  Now within that section of power the tea party extremists who avoid all reason and stick to ideology sway the entire party.  So, the tea party sways the Republican party, the Republican party blocks anything the President or Senate wants to do that they don't agree with.  Now you have the tea party... a minority within the minority, controlling our democracy.

By this definition - Iraq's Democracy is more fair an functional today than our own.  While we tried to create a model for the world... we forgot who we are.

Choice-less Democracy
Did you know that only 22 seats out of each chamber of Congress actually have the capacity to be shifted?  The process of Gerrymandering - drawing up election districts to see that your district is a majority from your party - has broken the entire system.  Many places across the country cannot elect someone from the other party because the election map is shaped too sharply to allow it.  Consider where you vote next time.  Someone likely Gerrymandered the map so that people of your political bent are all under one region.  Then all messages you received supported and ingrained and deepened that message.  This takes people to greater extremes.  It also creates an illusion of choice.  Because if a map is gerrymandered so that a majority will vote one way in your district... do you really have a choice?

Shrinking Representation
These issues arise out of a problem.  We have one President and about 100 senators now.  When Kennedy was President America had around 100 million people.  Today, when Obama is President, we crossed the 300 million person mark.  So, you get one President, but he now represents three times the people.  Two things happen.  1) Leaders focus their message to appeal to just over half, or at least to cover the needed electoral map.  2) They create wedge issues to maintain their power based on things they can convince people too easily.  It is simply too hard to convince people based on the real issues.  Many people refuse to think!

Solution: Obama actually created a citizens blue book.  And people were able to post and post and post regarding all of their concerns.  Then people clicked like to vote certain posts and topics up the list.  He then focused on the issues that rose to the top.  All leaders should shift to this deeper and more fluid form of representation that is capable through the internet.

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