Saturday, 14 April 2012

Far from Perfection

As I speak these words into my voice recorder, the sky is a beautiful shade of blue; there are no clouds; and the trees across the Capitol Hill park are various shades of green. Pink and white bloom abounds. The bright sunshine reflects off the dome of the Capitol Buiding and all seems peaceful and magical. Yet this same building is coming under attack by people who want to throw out the Senators and Representatives.

One thing is clear - there is a distrust, even a hatred, of the current political settlement. Citizens want to hold those who take powerful decisions accountable. Yet politicians seem incapable of standing up against the well paid lobbyists. The members of Congress seem to be in hock to the very corporations that they should be controlling.

In the temples of democracy there has been stalemate for many years. Very little is being achieved - the House of Representatives is merrily passing legislation that it knows that the Senate and the president will reject. It's all gesture politics.

To find a solution we need to have a deep reflection on the health of our democracy - here in the United States but also in my own country of birth the United Kingdom and across Europe. Democracies and those in the legislatures seem to be further and further removed from the people they represent. One of the key causes may be that as democracy has flourished it has become more and more important that the political messages are got across to the electorate. That costs money and without state funding it is coming from the pockets of wealthy individuals and corporations. These are not something for nothing deals. The rich and powerful want their views represented and acted upon. That may be against the interests of the rest of us.

We have to face up to the challenge that democracy needs active citizen involvement. Without it our democracy slides into a rough market place where many "citizens" can only look on - frustrated and angry.
[Recorded in the Capitol Grounds - Friday morning]