Personally, I blame myself

During last week’s chat, someone asked if I thought the public was, at least in part, to blame for the current state of our politics. My response was essentially “sure.” A couple days later, Slate’s Jacob Weisberg harangued the America public. And now here is Glen Pearson, quoting Aristotle and referencing Avatar.

Nobody talks like this anymore because of an abiding mutual contempt: citizens no longer trust their government, and politicians don’t trust citizens. The way we have chosen to deal with this is by creating illusions. Citizens claim to be concerned about their national political fate but then in the end don’t vote. Politicians tell people that their opinion matters but then often act as though it is their party, not the citizens, that is the ultimate arbitrator of their actions…

The last time I wrote on this subject, virtually all the comments agreed with me about politicians and then proceeded to say it has nothing to do with citizens. Well, that’s just not good enough. We are failing at both ends of the democratic exchange. We send our avatars out onto the playing field, while deep inside we know we should be doing better ourselves. Democracy awaits, but it won’t be healed by proportional representation, first-past-the post, or blind party loyalty. It will be bettered when we start speaking truth to ourselves.

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