Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Are the current "debates" really democratic?


I tried to watch the "debate" among the Democrat candidates for the U.S. President last night and just couldn't. After 10 minutes I turned the TV off and went to bed to read "Regarding the Pain Of Others" by Susan Sontag.

We have become, in this age of electronic media a nation of voyeurs who are desiring to be entertained rather than informed. Plato must be rolling over in his grave. There is no effort to find the truth or beauty or goodness but rather to be persuasive and convince the viewers of their extraordinarianess. 

The set up by the DNC and the news networks to engender the emotional arousal of the audience rather than serious reflection on the issues is an example of democracy in one of its worst aspects. The job of chosing representatives have become a popularity contest based on "crowd sourcing" strategies rather than vetting the most qualified person for the job.

If we are seeking a philosopher king or queen to lead our country, the format that has been chosen to help us identify the best person for the job is seriously flawed.

Unitarian Universalists covenant together to affirm and promote the right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large. This reads like a noble principle and yet it doesn't specify what the "democratic process" or processes are. The term "demcratic" can be different things to different people and what is democratic about 12 candidates on a stage being triggered by provocative questions so they can attack each other and struggle to one up each other seems like entertainment like World Federation Wrestling rather than a helpful, substantive, exercise in discussing the issues that face us all not only in the United States but in the world.

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