Sunday, July 26, 2009

On the Death of Democracy

So, have you voted for anything that was good for you lately? I remember being told once that, even if there was nothing you wanted to vote for there would always be something you wanted to vote against. These days it seems that the thing most voted against is intelligence and the elusive and misleadingly named thing called common sense.

I’m not going to rail against the quality of education systems, either within North America or worldwide. There are those far better qualified then me to deconstruct the myths of education and academic achievement that we have been spoon-fed for so long. What I do hold dear is the quaint notion that people really are entitled to good government, assuming that is that they can recognise and endorse it. That last has been sorely lacking and not just in recent times. It really does seem that the idea of an educated electorate debating the issues and voting for real solutions has vanished into the mist.

I recall a piece of graffiti sprayed on a railway bridge in London that said “it doesn’t matter who you vote for, you still end up with a government”. That cynicism encompasses the world we live in doesn’t it. But, should it? Are we so far divorced from the possibility of good government that we despair of ever seeing it again?

Politicians rank right down there with used-car salesmen and insurance adjustors when it comes to trust and perceived honesty. It’s not that fact that rankles; it’s the appearance that nobody, least of all the politicians themselves, seems to care about changing that fact. What’s wrong with this picture?

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