Democracy or Spectator Sport?
Donald Trump and Hillary Rodham Clinton have just gone head-to-head and toe-to-toe in the second of the televised Presidential Debates.
Was this a shining example of intelligent debate about how best to lead a country and create an environment it’s citizen could be safe, healthy and prosper in? I think not!
Regardless of your politics, this debate was more about personal attacks, accusations and mud-slinging than it was about policy. The experience reminded me more gladiatorial games than the ideals of democracy. Who won is moot, as both combatants have been wounded in terms of their credibility and, dare I say it virtue.
I say virtue, because the philosopher, Aristotle, said Government should be by those people with enough time on their hands to pursue virtue. Virtues are characteristics valued as promoting collective and individual greatness. Neither candidate can be described as virtuous, and Americans are left with a choice of who is the lesser of two evils.
Of course, America isn’t a democracy at all. A Democracy provides every legal citizen of a certain age with the free and equal right to participate in a system of government that elects representatives of the people by the majority of the people, who promise to do the will of the people.
America is designed as a Republic, in which the government is ruled by elected leaders who govern according to laws designed to help citizens. Unfortunately, those leaders have not been helping the citizens but have been influenced by big business and billionaires. So in reality America is an Oligarchy, a government in which a small group exercises control especially for corrupt and selfish purposes.
Time to be Great Again?
Trump’s battle cry for this election is ‘Make America Great Again’ – catchy, but what does it mean?
I don’t think he means promoting collective and individual greatness (virtue). Closing borders and applying religious tests is not what made America great – being the land of opportunity was. Giving up autonomy and hoping the government or a ‘charismatic’ leader will take care of you was not the spirit of the American pioneers.
The World is a volatile and ambiguous place and America has its fair share of problems – none of which will be solved with platitudes or fear-mongering.
Time for a Shift?
As an outsider looking again, I have watched, as if transfixed by two trains heading on a collision course. I have spoken to my American friends on both sides of the debate and heard their concerns for their country, and I empathize.
America will shortly be governed by the last man or woman standing. The impact of this government will not only affect America, but the world.
When this time comes, there will be more important issues than missing emails or misogynistic comments. To fix the problems will take collaboration, the division just serves the Oligarchy through divide and conquer.
The Shift needs to be in terms of a sense of ownership and responsibility.
Good Luck America!