This past election was a referendum to “Save Democracy.” I ask, “What Democracy?”
Our national system is a form of Republican Democracy, meaning that we the people send to Congress our delegates to represent our state and local interests on the federal level. Over the decades, these Congress-members have been hacked and no longer truly represent or reflect our local values. Campaign Finance has driven a huge wedge between a congress-member and their constituents. Money talks, beggars walk.
The matter with American Democracy is that, well…., Americans don’t know how to actually ‘DO’ Democracy.
Most Americans have zero experience doing or performing democracy. Few know of “Roberts’ Rules of Order,” nor have the communication skills to listen actively and patience to wait their turn to speak. Public speaking is considered a niche skill. All the while, civic clubs such as Kiwanis, Rotary, Lions, etc. are losing memberships annually. And of course, the most active democracy oriented organizations are under political and judicial attack as threats to the authoritarians — Unions.
Authoritarianism has taken hold in America. Corporations are functionally authoritarian. The Boss rules, the workers take it. Amazon and Walmart both actively wage war against any attempt by workers to unionize or even call for safer workplaces. Never-mind, that for a long time in America, we had laws against that kind of union-busting behavior.
The majority share of mainstream media is now owned by monopolistic corporations in a collusive relationship. The messages flowing from these organizations is too often pro-corporate and anti-union/anti-democratic.
Schools, public or private, neglect to model democracy. Teach to the test. No time for non-essential courses such as music, art, civics.
If you wish to save democracy, start at home. Create meetings where important subjects are discussed in a formal manner, decisions are made as a family democratically, and binding. Show honor to the institution.
In schools, make the school boards set democracy as priority. Teach the democratic process at every level, practical and real-world experiences to reinforce the values and protect the honor of the institution. Further, teach scientific process, active listening, passive listening, public speaking and debate.
Reinstate the value of unions nationwide. Require corporate boards to democratize by allocating a third of the seats to worker representatives.
Push back hard on authoritarianism. Democracy is the true American value. Save it.