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USA: 2012 election campaigns have started


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What worries me is that from this side of the ocean (Europe) I don't particularly care whether the USA gets a democrat or a republican. The most important thing to me as an outsider is that the most powerful country with the largest economy has fair elections.

 

A democracy should have an electorate that is well-informed, and the elections should be based on facts. Instead, American elections are a very emotional affair where very minor issues can play a huge role. And slander is the preferred and tested method to gain votes.

 

If you base your campaign on slander, rather than facts, then democracy is dead.

 

How can the American democracy be cured from the worthless campaign methods that both parties use?

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While American politics is extremely silly in its fixation on personalities, campaign tactics, and petty scandals, in other modern democracies as well the issues are usually far beyond the ability or interest of the average citizen to assess critically. There has been a general retreat from the public space and a cultivation of a private life of mindless consumerism and brain-deadening work, and when this is combined with the transition from political campaigns conducted in in-depth newspaper debates to those conducted in 20-second television soundbites, the whole ritual becomes as meaningless as having the public consult astrologers to determine their electoral choice.

 

For some reason the constant enthusiasm over the vital importance of democracy as the supreme political value persists in failing to take note of the fact, evident now for more than 60 years, that the public mind is not engaged in any sophisticated way with the entire process, so the process is entirely vacuuous. But if this, along with constitutionally anchored human rights protections, is all that legitimates the state, then it is past time for some serious discussion of what is wrong with Western political legitimacy.

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While American politics is extremely silly in its fixation on personalities, campaign tactics, and petty scandals, in other modern democracies as well the issues are usually far beyond the ability or interest of the average citizen to assess critically. There has been a general retreat from the public space and a cultivation of a private life of mindless consumerism and brain-deadening work, and when this is combined with the transition from political campaigns conducted in in-depth newspaper debates to those conducted in 20-second television soundbites, the whole ritual becomes as meaningless as having the public consult astrologers to determine their electoral choice.

Marat, I completely agree. I hope that my initial focus on the USA has not insulted anyone - it's absolutely true that most Western democracies suffer from the same problem - certainly my own country does.

 

For some reason the constant enthusiasm over the vital importance of democracy as the supreme political value persists in failing to take note of the fact, evident now for more than 60 years, that the public mind is not engaged in any sophisticated way with the entire process, so the process is entirely vacuuous. But if this, along with constitutionally anchored human rights protections, is all that legitimates the state, then it is past time for some serious discussion of what is wrong with Western political legitimacy.

Interesting point. Under normal circumstances, any public debate would be organized by either the political parties themselves or by the media (who happily go hand in hand with the politics).

I have no idea who should organize the debate about how to organize a controlled revolution, like you suggest... Obviously, if you wish to discuss about the Western political ligitimacy, you must at least consider the option of a (peaceful!) revolution. I completely agree with you that it would be necessary, but I don't think it would find any support in any existing organization.

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Checklist to tell if politicians are lying:

 

-Do they claim to fix a budget without cuts or without rampant tax hikes?

 

-Do they redirect a serious question with a patriotic rant?

 

-Is their mouth moving?

 

I've yet to find a politician in the US that didn't fail this test miserably.

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