The Need to Restore Real Democracy.
Traits become weights when they betray.
The age of the radical has passed, being replaced by the ridiculous instead — incredulous, for some people. Even so, citizens act indifferent to contexts and consequences. Yet they aren’t ridiculous, at least in their eyes. They are expressing rather a need to feel alive, moving margins and receiving pardons for actions that used to indict. Today the only indictment is in denying self-expression.
Unlike the radical, the ridiculous lacks political aims. Neither does it honor intellectual creeds. The ridiculous exalts idiosyncrasies instead. These idiosyncrasies diminish democracy with each expression when we understand democracy’s essence. Hence its need to be restored.
Democratically, what pours pares reason and predicts rebellion. It also pushes rights beyond logical limits and common sense. Today logic doesn’t limit what it should as it did when democracy was better understood. Thus, every expression explodes the ridiculous. These expressions frustrate those who understand real democracy.
To understand this, however, we must understand ourselves, not just our fears of policies that threaten our priorities. Rightly understood, real democracy has persons, not policies, as priority.
Legislation expresses democracy’s essence. Debate outlines its aims, however acrid it becomes. What matters is what it begets. Its purpose shouldn’t be deception, though its process includes this… encourages it even. Though acrid, debate protects real democracy. Enlightened leaders use debate to deliver democracy’s promise to all citizens.
Contemporarily, this approach fails because of indifference to real democracy.
Consider, for example, how legislation legalizes party perspectives rather than upholding democratic imperatives. Consider the conceit that sanctions presidential consort with Russia, Syria aside, and how it betrays national security. Consider how a sense of humor displaces a sense of honor, which endows democracy with regard.
Consider how, in honest moments, we cease assigning primacy to democracy in practice provided we receive our preference, indifferent to whom we hurt or how we hinder democracy’s health.
Contemporarily, democracy reflects what PACs prescribe and pretension invents to advance its interests. Guardians use garters as girdles to uphold the ridiculous even as citizens slip into a trance uttering empty chants of “God Bless America.” Textual evidence reveals sexual elements that induce citizens’ seduction — higher tax credits and more tax cuts — which seldom accomplish what they claim.
Dissent is easily refuted because many Americans are too rooted in the ridiculous to perceive democracy’s decline. They use debate to discredit what they reject. Other times, silence serves. Their response denies the advance of real democracy. It also erodes rights for which soldiers died and parents cried when soldiers died on its behalf.
Consider our treatment of veterans, how we politicize their service to serve ends whose aims stain the flag and stunt the force of real democracy. How ironic in an age when preeminently political indifference prevails towards real democracy.
Instead we consign concern to bills, beliefs and battleground states whose force fades once candidates gain the votes needed to be seated on their throne. Enthroning the ridiculous obscures our predicament when we neglect to practice real democracy. If we understood this, we would dissent until we reformed politics, which we unconsciously equate with real democracy.
Politics, however, is the science of democracy. Morality is its sense. Rightly practiced, morality increases our prudence in practicing it. In this regard, today’s leaders lack the Founders’ foresight, which they used as forceps to form the future beneficially. In their will to govern, they degrade real democracy.
We must understand real democracy to contend with intelligence and to debate with prudence in order to restore its integrity. In failing, politics perverts democratic practice. Politics perverts when legislation betrays citizens’ interests to satisfy political compulsions. In perverting, we cease to be one nation under God, and become instead one in disguise, rehearsing yet rejecting democratic ideals.
Ideologically, democracy is in disguise, and advocates are in disgust at its decline. They watch as politics endorse the ridiculous despite its effect on citizens.
Democracy, like any humane political system, serves life, not logic or what it posits as prudent based on obsequious assumptions. Real democracy asks, “Is it humane?” If it fails this inquiry, it is quit despite its claims. Such thinking thrashes present approaches. In fact, contemporary democracy is marginally concerned with its humanity.
It has become instead a still wherein we mingle liqueurs and lies laced with facts that spike the national drink, producing delusions that deny democracy’s decline.
Whoever makes this claim is deemed undemocratic by critics. “Look,” they say, “more people today have less of this and more of that.” They seldom consider that less and more aren’t the only score by which to judge democracy. Real democracy, rightly practiced, supports the premise, “I am better; I am more.” If this attitude lacks, democracy sacks citizens’ real and rightful interests.
Real democracy supports this premise with competent and inclusive legislation. Otherwise the ridiculous engulfs even as citizens grieve.
Real democracy inspires real optimism, such as enabled America’s rise. Never in history emerged a society that so embraced indomitably democracy’s possibility. Never did a nation commit itself so in support of citizen advancement and self-government. Never did its leaders betray citizens’ interests because they emerged from the same soil that inspired these and elected them.
Today, however, citizens no longer look with optimism toward the democratic horizon. Nor are they instinctively as optimistic as they were when real democracy prevailed (slavery and women’s suffrage aside).
Today, concern with survival consumes citizens instead. In fact, citizens today are more anxious than optimistic. Consider the uncertainty surrounding social security and healthcare, retirement and employment, how it impairs the practice of real democracy. What could be more ridiculous than to reduce democracy’s margins so until citizens abandon self-actualization?
What but politics could pervert Maslow’s hierarchy and democratic hopes whereon concern with survival prevails?
Democracy no longer inspires dreams or dreamers to inscribe their names in its archives, beneficially speaking, by seeking incipient greatness. In fact, one seldom hears aspirational tones or inspired talents telling their intent to excel, save among certain classes and stubborn persons who believe in themselves. Politics hinders the rest.
Politicians meanwhile continue to offer their agenda as the cinder that will ignite national potential and democracy’s promise.
In hearing politicians speak, one senses instinctively the incredulity of their claims. One knows without effort their methods are malignant and emaciating. They aren’t designed to ignite but to renege on democracy’s promise, save what serves party priorities. One discerns by one’s own sarcasm the chasm separating us from them, and them from themselves.
Those who excel under this system deny the decline of democracy. Those who don’t are embittered. Hence the decline of optimism. Hence the need to restore real democracy.
To those who understand it, real democracy transcends politics. Politics is merely the means used to achieve human flourishing. In forgetting this, democracy serves low aims even as it pursues beguiling goals.
A former corporate trainer and university lecturer, Dr. Joel Bryant is an avid reader, writer, speaker, thinker and dreamer. He is also the author of over 40 books on various topics, each exploring themes of change, growth and greatness. He holds a doctorate in Educational Leadership from UNC Charlotte, where he spent five years lecturing in the Philosophy Department. He resides in Charlotte, NC.