Monday, May 18, 2009

What I think people are missing...

Is that a democracy should piss you off.

I was just thinking of this when I considered how angry people get at the government. "They're not representing my needs/thoughts/wants/etc." People then feel talk about how awful the government is, how the country is going/has gone/will go to hell in a hand basket, and so on and so forth. This happens on both sides of the spectrum, of course. The current most obvious example of it is the Teabagging movement, which aside from making so many men so very happy (ha ha) really embodied people talking about the Evil Government and even (as the Today Show nicely illustrated) people complaining about taxation with representation.

Ok, so again, here's what people are forgetting. Democracy is not designed for you to get your way. It is not designed to have a government that does what you want. How could it? It's designed to give a large proportion of the population a voice, an equal share, in determining what happens to the country (in a very indirect way). So since a) everyone has a say and b) most of us don't agree then c) everyone will always be unhappy with something the government does. If the government does everything you, as an individual, want then democracy has failed to provide input or a voice to that substantial portion of the country that disagrees with you. The fact that the government does some things you hate is in a way an indication that it's doing its job. Now, you can argue that this substantial portion of the population are blooming idiots, and I often do, but you cannot argue that they should have no say over what happens in a democracy. The point is that they should.

Of course, this is a blatant oversimplification, and there are very real and valid concerns (in my mind) that the government is disproportionately influenced by the powerful to the exclusion of the majority, and if that's why you're unhappy, well it makes perfect sense to me! You could rail against the power of special interest groups and if so, hey, I'm with ya. but if you're just mad cause the government does things that you don't like, well, get used to it. Because if we fix it just right, so all these barriers and problems are removed, it had better continue to do things you don't like. And then if you don't like them you can either a) put up with it, b) try to influence others to help you change it, or c) move. Weird, but that's what we've got, I think.

Hmm, to be honest I think there may be some holes here (yes, imaginary critical readers, you're all saying "ya think?!"). I'm too tired to come up with them now though. Off to bed.

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