[EM] language/framing quibble

James Gilmour jgilmour at globalnet.co.uk
Thu Mar 5 06:18:35 PST 2009

Fred Gohlke  > Sent: Thursday, March 05, 2009 1:24 PM
> The essence of democracy is not what you want, it is what the 
> people of Owego want.
> The only way we can find out who the people of Owego want to be their 
> mayor is to ask them.  Our present electoral methods do not ask the 
> people who they want, they tell the people what choices they have. 
> Campaigning is not asking, it is telling.
> The failure of our political system is that it is not an asking 
> mechanism, it is a telling mechanism.  In spite of the advances in 
> transportation, communication and data processing over the past 200-odd 
> years, we have not yet devised a means of asking the people to make 
> their own political decisions.  We have the means, but not the method.
> My purpose is to devise a practical method of asking the 
> people of Owego who they want as their mayor.

Fred, there are two fundamental flaws in your approach.  The person "they want" may well not want the job.  So the choice has to be
narrowed to those who would be prepared to take on the job.  If that were not the case, everyone in Owego could offer themselves for
the post, but that doesn't happen.

The second flaw is that the reality is that not everyone wants make their own political decisions, and the proportion in that
category is a surprisingly (and disappointingly ?) large.  You may say that is the result of decades or centuries of conditioning
and of being denied the opportunity to make their own political decisions.  But I don't see any evidence of a groundswell of popular
opinion or activity that suggest that is going to change any time soon, at least, not here in the UK.  Indeed, I see (and
experience) evidence that well-informed people surprisingly do not want to participate in decision-making, even when it affects them
personally and very directly.

James Gilmour
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