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Whither Democracy, Part 2

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The reason our political leaders are corrupt is that party politics elevates unscrupulous people by design.  Since the goal of a party is to advance its own interest, it rewards those who do so unfettered by the restraints of honor.  Once these unprincipled people achieve leadership positions, they infect our society because morality is a top-down phenomenon.

The idea that we can't remove corruption from our political systems because we are corruptible is nonsense.  It is a myth.  The problem is not the people; it is a political system that intentionally seeks out and elevates unscrupulous politicians.  The vast majority of our peers are honest, principled people.  When we make probity a primary concern in our electoral process, the pervasiveness of dishonesty in our society will diminish.

Separation Of Powers
The U. S. Constitution separated the powers of government in such a way as to operate as checks upon each other.  Among the methods used were the definition of separate Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches, and the further division of the Legislative Branch into two distinct bodies, each intended to represent a different constituency, namely, the interests of the several states and the interests of the people of those states, and the Electoral College to insure broad-based support for a successful Presidential candidate.  Separation of Powers is lauded as a cornerstone of our Constitution.  I'm unaware of any substantive disagreement with this view of the intent of our Founders.

Political parties persistently attack the Separation of Powers.  They use their leverage to force elected officials to vote en bloc on crucial issues, making a mockery of the safeguards we rely on to protect our freedoms.  When one party succeeds in controlling multiple branches of our government, it is ludicrous to imagine we have a system of checks and balances.

Passion And Intellect
Partisan political systems divide and conquer the people by a destructive confrontational method that thrives by inspiring emotional (rather than reasoned) responses to the challenges facing the community.  Political parties appeal to emotion by applying the principles of behavioral science to manipulate the public.  They mount, finance and staff campaigns designed to inflame the passions of the electorate.

Communications during election campaigns are one-way.  There is no genuine attempt to consult the public interest and the serious issues are seldom those raised during a campaign.  Instead, surveys are conducted to find 'hot buttons' which generate a desired response and professionals use the information to mold 'messages' which the candidates and the parties feed the public in a flood of misinformation.  It is a rabble-rousing technique.
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Intelligent decisions require dialogue; assertions must be examined, not in the sterile environment of a televised debate, but in depth.  The electorate must be able to examine candidates and discuss matters of public concern, and, with the knowledge so gained, make decisions.  They have no opportunity to do so.

Carefully reasoned decisions are anathema to political parties.  They will do everything in their power to prevent the ascendance of reason as a basis for political decisions.  Their strength is based on their ability to inflame the passions of their constituents.  They are expert at doing so.

(to be continued)

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I was born just before the Great Depression. I learned our country's virtues in a one-room schoolhouse and it sickens me to see them trampled as they have been. My perceptions of "right" and "wrong" have been strong motivating forces in my life (more...)
 

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Those who have not already done so should read Par... by Fred Gohlke on Wednesday, May 29, 2013 at 9:26:31 AM
This article purports to discuss what the author s... by Michael Germain on Wednesday, May 29, 2013 at 9:29:12 AM
... you for reading as much of the article as has ... by Fred Gohlke on Wednesday, May 29, 2013 at 2:25:29 PM
 Sir,  You may turn out to know bet... by Ad Du on Thursday, May 30, 2013 at 10:11:16 AM
You have found a topic on which we disagree. ... by Fred Gohlke on Thursday, May 30, 2013 at 7:39:38 PM
 I appreciate the kindness and wisdom in your... by Ad Du on Thursday, May 30, 2013 at 9:59:04 PM
Unfortunately, Ad Du, people tend to react emotion... by Fred Gohlke on Friday, May 31, 2013 at 2:41:42 PM