Monday, November 1, 2010

Report Card On Democracy: The Three Ds

Here we are, on the eve of Elections. Tomorrow, we will be asked to do our civic duty, in an informed manner, by casting our votes.

But how do we, as voters, rate?

I have a list of three Ds important to Democracy. These are arbitrary, I realize; there could be others. Maybe you have your own list.

Discourse. Have politicians been engaged in honest dialogue with constituents? Have they clearly stated what their policies would be? Have we citizens engaged in true dialogue amongst ourselves? What I have read, heard, seen has been pretty rotten, even at the local level. Unseen Big Money engaged in mudslinging with expensive mailers. Candidates that harp at one another at so-called debates. Citizens, taking the lead of what they see politicians doing, talking at each other, not to one another. No one is listening. The world is painted as black or white, right or wrong, either/or, one way or the other. "If you are not for me, you are against me!" Even when that means you have to ride two horses. While we are all so busy enjoying the circus antics of those running for office (sometimes I wish there was something really entertaining to see or hear), what kind of deals are being made in government back offices?

Discretion. Have we been discrete in our dealings and discourse? In this age of the internet and the cellular phone, people seem now to be accustomed to airing their dirty laundry, and that of others, for all to see and hear. And then they want their privacy protected. When people give away their own privacy with such little disregard, they then feel entitled to take on the role of victim. When Shakespeare had Falstaff say, in Henry IV, Part 1, "The better part of valour is discretion", he follows it up with the phrase "in the which better part I have saved my life." How often do we speak without thinking? Without realizing that we are surrounded by ears that are hearing us? It has become all too commonplace for our thoughtless thoughts to become public.

Dignity. When we fail in maintaining Discourse with Discretion, we fail ourselves and others in preserving Dignity for all.

Failing Democracy is unthinkable. But I ask you to think on it, as you prepare to go to the polls tomorrow to cast your vote.

Do vote, please. I hope that you have done your homework well. I hope that you have read and listened beyond all the indiscretions and petty bickering to find the heart of the issues at stake.

My own ballot was cast weeks ago and mailed in.


The Choice

Lemming Leaders slouch along,
treading all their roads to nowhere,
paved, as they are,
with public monies and
sentiments misplaced
in the power to choose.

But, who
shall stand

Lemming Leaders shall continue,
slouching along,
as they always have,
skimming the system,
and plying pretty words
by which to play
us all for suckers.

Others, seeing
the truth about our choices
and sensing another, better way,
will find the place of no road,
and from there make a start
at a different kind of journey.

© 2010 by Elisabeth T. Eliassen

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