Let’s Look at our Democracy

| December 3, 2018 | Leave a Comment

Image: Washington's second inauguration at Philadelphia, by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris (1863-1930)
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Media Type: Article - Foundational

Author(s): Bob O'Connor

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What a gullible lot we are!!  Throughout history we have been sold on multiple ideas of how we were created and where we are going after we die. One God, many gods, no god. Elect Herbert Hoover in 1928 and the Republican Party promised that “there will be a chicken in every pot and the car in every garage.” Seven months later we were hit by the Great Depression. In January of 1941 FDR told us that we are entitled to four freedoms: freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom from want, and freedom from fear. Included in this was the expressed need for adequate healthcare. Three quarters of a century later and we still do not have it.

Each of these messages, like the thousands before and the thousands after, are delivered with authoritative hope– but without verifiable evidence or concrete policies. But like the wild ostriches with their heads on the sand–we hope, and we believe. Package the message effectively and we will believe anything!

On Halloween night, in 1938, Orson Welles delivered a radio broadcast that convinced thousands of us that the Martians had invaded New Jersey. For those listening at the beginning of the program, it was clear that this was a drama. For those who listened to the ending remarks, it was clear that it was a drama. But for those who tuned in late or didn’t listen to the ending remarks, many were convinced that our Earthly humanity was imminently doomed.

Throughout our human history we have been the gullible audiences for snake oil salesmen who will sell us an elixir that will cure whatever physical or mental problems we have.  Leaders or “wannabe” leaders tell us that we are the master race, we can be great again, we can be safe again, we can be rich again, we take care of our own lives, and that moving back to we thought life used to be is better than life is now.

Mitch McConnell, the Senate Majority Leader has told us that the health insurance we have now is “good for the American people.” He doesn’t say how. Since we pay 40 to 50% more than any other country for our health delivery systems and our reward is the 38th best health delivery system in the world, the worst of any developed country—how is this good for the American people?

Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson told us how easy would be to negotiate with the EU after the UK left it. Oh my! The reality is more than slightly different! Did they ever think that negotiating with someone who doesn’t like you anymore, and who has everything you want, will be a sympathetic and generous negotiator? Has Brexit made a Robinson Crusoe of the British Isles?

Politicians promise. That is their stock-in-trade.  But should their promises be even remotely possible to secure? Evidence clearly shows that cutting taxes increases the national debt. Trump promised that his tax cuts would reduce it. He just didn’t say how. Now it looks like they will add $10 trillion to our ever-expanding national debt. He promised to make America great again by stopping or even reversing immigration. How many generations back shall we reach to draw the line? Should we go back to 1905 when Donald Trump’s grandfather was deported from Bavaria but welcomed in the U.S.? Should we draw the line somewhere between 1850 and 1880 when my forebears fled the Emerald Isle? Lucky for Donald and me that the American presidents in those days didn’t brand all Germans and Irishmen as drug dealers and rapists. Maybe we should we toss out all the immigrants and their offspring who have crowded out the Native Americans in the last 500 years?  Was that the time when America was great?

Somebody called us “homo sapiens,“ Latin  for “thinking man.” Certainly there have been a few thinkers emerge as we stumbled down the path of human history.  One of them discovered how to tame fire. Another invented the wheel. Along the way we have had our Aristotles, Confusiuses, Newtons, and Einsteins. But we have also had our inquisitors who tortured or killed us if we would not join them in believing the unbelievable.

A messiah promises us a new view of life everlasting. So we give his priests tithes. A politician promises us a utopia. So we donate to his campaign. A tub-thumping orator promises us riches if we will only buy his book, buy his products, or join his pyramid club.

We are so full of hope that we will follow the pie-in-the-sky piper like so many non-thinking Hamlin rats. So let’s look at how we have been “dumbed down” by politicians bypassing our intellects with the promises of hope that will conquer our fears and anger.

In this book we aim to look at: how we have been manipulated in recent elections; some things we should clarify and change is we really want a government “of the people”, then a glimpse of how our educations can be re-ordered to increase our chances of developing a democratic government that is shaped by a thinking electorate.


You may access the complete book here or by clicking the link below the title.

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