With all the chaos around the presidential election, I’ve had the opportunity to think deeply about the nature of democracy.
In a democracy we do not always get the government we want, but get the government we deserve. The losers of course, don’t believe that’s true because they are convinced the nation deserves better. But I say the losers deserve to lose because they were either flawed candidates, had flawed ideas, or they just failed to convince voters of their competence. The winners deserve to win for just the opposite reason. They were able to sell the public that they could do a better job than the opposition, so they deserve to rule, at least for a time.
This doesn’t mean every winning candidate is the very best candidate. In some cases, they may simply be less flawed, or better financed than their opponent, they lost to, or their party dominates their state, or region. But that’s the way democracy works. If they fail us, we can always, in the words of my father, “Tro da bums out!” Both parties have had Senators or Representatives, who won by huge margins and served for decades, who voters later found were rogues, and out they went!
One more way we get the government we deserve, is if we fail to fully participate in it. If you’re not willing to be a poll watcher, knock on doors on behalf of your candidate, and get engaged in races and with the issues, and the only thing you do is show up to vote, if your candidate looses, you, and your party got the government you deserve. Democracy takes work!
Another miracle of a democracy is that it is self-correcting and self-healing. It may take a few years or a decade, but sooner or later, as long as we have a free press, the majority party’s flaws will become self-evident, and new candidates will emerge with what voters believe are better ideas. In the long run, Democracy works!
Almost more important than the rule of law to a democracy is a free press. A free press helps voters make more wise decisions and keeps politicians accountable. There’s been a lot of talk about “fake news.” A few weeks ago, I blogged about the fact that there are almost no unbiased news sources in the U.S. so free and fair news should be on the endangered species list! Almost every news source is fake news. “Fake” doesn’t always mean it’s a lie. It can also be a half-truth, or truth that get almost no coverage that leaves a completely different impression than if the whole truth were known.
It drives friends of mine nuts that I try to listen to NPR, also watch Fox News and I listen to “The World and Everything In It” podcast. It’s the only way I know to get reasonably close to the truth. Oh, and this is my opportunity to shamelessly promote our grandson Max’s new website, Civil. civilmedia.io His goal is to weekly present both sides of a political, or social issue so you begin to understand other points of view, which we all need to to be an informed citizen. Today that requires far more work from each of us.
This quote from Timothy has nothing to do with politics, but the principle still holds.
“For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.” 2 Timothy 4:3
So, don’t just right off every idea your party doesn’t like. You, your party and I could be wrong. Educate yourself. “Those who fail to learn from history, are doomed to repeat it.”
How following Jesus works in real life.
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