Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Democracy in America

There are many men of principle in both parties in America, but there is no party of principle.
~Alexis de Tocqueville

One of the books that I've read over and over again is Democracy in America by Alexis de Tocqueville.  The first few times I read it was by force, not choice.  It was a prescribed book, required by my professors in college.  I majored in Public Policy and Management, which is essentially like a combination of Political Science and Civic Management.  We learned not just about the government and political system of the country, but also how is is run on a day to day basis. 

As with so many things I've read, this book was something I read because I had to the first time around.  Then it was something I read with interest again.  It's fascinating how astute the observations of this man were about our system, particularly given the fact that he was a Frenchman, foreign to our version of democracy.

One of his key observations was how much religion and politics are intertwined here in this country, and how unusual that is when compared to European nations.  On the other side of the pond, religion and politics are more likely to exist independent of one another, often at odds with one another.  Here, they can't be removed from each other, they are so deeply interconnected that most people can't fathom it being any other way. 

He wrote of his observations over 150 years ago, and yet it's almost as if he could be writing about some of them today. 

I highly recommend it to anyone who wants a deeper understanding of how our system came to be, why it is the way it is now.

Today is Election Day, and I urge you to vote.  More than that, though, I urge you to be an educated voter.  Learn about the measures and candidates before you.  Do your own research.  Don't rely on what some commercial or some print ad or someone standing in a pulpit tells you.  Your vote is yours alone. 

Don't be ruled by fear.  Don't be led.  Don't make decisions in haste. 

Don't be fooled into thinking that the problems of our nation can be solved in a day.  Don't be short sighted.   The pendulum swings far too much with the economic cycles in this country, and it's hard not to see how that can be counterproductive. 

Elect people willing to solve problems, not create new ones.  Elect those who can work together, not those who will be divisive forces.  Elect those who can be a source of positive change.

And beware, beware, beware the tyranny of the majority.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Some of My Most Popular Posts