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A chicken or egg story

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"The reality is that representative democracy, at the core, has to be about people voting, has to be about people engaging in political parties, has to be about people having contact with elected representatives, and having faith and trust in elected representatives, as well as those representatives demonstrating they can exercise political power effectively and make decisions that tend to be approved of," said Wilks-Heeg."

Such being said in this article titled "British democracy in terminal decline, warns report" ; now you won't see such a report in the U.S. media as it's given up it's role of being the 'fourth estate', now being representative of "an "unprecedented" growth in corporate power, which the study's authors warn "threatens to undermine some of the most basic principles of democratic decision-making".

So which is the chicken or the egg; the U.S. or the U.K?

As Palast said, "The U.S. is the best democracy money can buy". And while nothing has been solved with a gun, Ted Rall does have a point about the need for revolution.

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coyotecreek's picture
Submitted by coyotecreek on

Seriously -

"The reality is that representative democracy, at the core, has to be about people voting, has to be about people engaging in political parties, has to be about people having contact with elected representatives, and having faith and trust in elected representatives, as well as those representatives demonstrating they can exercise political power effectively and make decisions that tend to be approved of," said Wilks-Heeg."

There is no one to whom to talk.
There is no one who will listen.
There is no one to whom to complain.
There is no one who we trust to do anything.

The result: tons and tons of anger.

Submitted by ubetchaiam on

I've written elsewhere about the First Amendments "right to petition for redress of grievances" and the SCOTUS has ruled "the Supreme Court explained in Minnesota Board for Community Colleges v. Knight (1984): "[N]othing in the First Amendment or in this Court’s case law interpreting it suggests that the rights to speak, associate, and petition require government policymakers to listen or respond to individuals’ communications on public issues."

So a valid question is 'what's the point' of having a 'right to petition' if there isn't a concomitant requirement to have the government respond?

Add to that the fact that the House of Representatives rules specifically indicate that while every citizen has the absolute right to petition Congress for redress of grievance, Congress was neither morally nor legally obligated to respond.

So much for the myth of representative democracy in the U.S. And note the 'moral' exception; such should be thrown in the face of every Congressional critter that talks about 'morality'.

mtngun's picture
Submitted by mtngun on

Maybe representative democracy is the problem ?

When our country was founded, direct democracy simply was not a viable option, not that the rich white male slaveowners who designed our government would have had the slightest interest in true democracy, anyway.

Today, it would certainly be technically feasible to have referendums on major laws and on constitutional amendments, and to vote for a president rather than for an electoral college. Yet we are still operating as if we lived in horse and buggy days.

nihil obstet's picture
Submitted by nihil obstet on

I think one of the problems with governance is the assumption that everybody should be able to design/evaluate the details of policy. And then all of our energy gets drained into arguing specific laws. We'll never match the armies of lobbyists who are paid to work in one specific area full-time to gain advantage. And then of course to blanket the airwaves with appropriate propaganda.

We need instead to work on the broad outcomes we want and ways to tie those outcomes to elected representatives.

And for that, I'm not so concerned about a means of forcing Congress to respond as I am about the means to carry out effective petitioning, including the abolition of the Orwellian named "free speech zones" and an expanded right to demonstrate, protest, and generally to be visible and audible.