Many if not most people are dissatisfied with what’s been happening politically. I hear you. Most times when I go to cast my ballot I am looking for a place to mark “none of the above”!
Okay so, instead of just complaining, let’s do something!
I’m going to suggest that we change our thinking about how we do democracy.
Our dissatisfaction may come from the fact that our ideas about democracy may be about two thousand years out of date!
Democracy by definition implies consensus. Consensus usually starts at about 75 to 80 percent agreement from the people affected.
However, our concept of democracy comes from a time when most people couldn’t vote. Consensus then meant general agreement of a ruling elite and excluded most of the population.
As the rest of us gradually gained the right to vote, the idea of representative government arose. Our thinking then was that our representatives ought to represent us and only us. Our representatives thought so too!
The problem is that present-day communities are made up of more than one group.
What’s happened is that, in a “multi-party” system, someone can get elected by appealing to less than 40 percent of the voters. Even in a two-party system, close to half of the voters can reject a candidate and that candidate still gets elected. And let’s not get into one-party systems which are just a pretense of democracy.
So we have a bit of a systems problem.
And that system pits us against each other and rarely gets close to consensus.
I’m going to suggest that to turn this boat around we start by changing what we expect of our representatives.
To me, it would just seem logical that good Representative Democracy in a pluralistic, non-elitist society would require representatives who:
- Believed in democracy, and
- have the knowledge, skills, experience and attitude (K.S.E.A.) to be able to develop that democratic consensus.
The Evolution of Representative Democracy starts with better representatives and that starts with identifying, developing and supporting candidates with better K.S.E.A.. credentials.
I think we can do this. Let’s talk.