A blog to give a voice to our concern about the continued erosion of our democratic processes not only within the House of Commons and within our electoral system but also throughout our society. Here you will find articles about the current problems within our parliamentary democracy, about actions both good and bad by our elected representatives, about possible solutions, opinions and debate about the state of democracy in Canada, and about our roles/responsibilities as democratic citizens. We invite your thoughtful and polite comments upon our posts and ask those who wish to post longer articles or share ideas on this subject to submit them for inclusion as a guest post.
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Sunday, January 15, 2017

Obama on Democracy

Last Tuesday President Obama presented his final speech of his presidency before the incoming Twit in Chief take power this coming Friday. The focus of his speech was as he said “the state of our democracy.”, meaning the state of democracy in the U.S. which surely looks bleak given the Twits recent twittering, however many of Obamas comments are relevant to all democracy’s across the world including our own here in Canada. I make no apologies for cherry picking a few of the most relevant sections of his remarks and presenting them here for your consideration. He says it so much better than I ever could........


Our youth and drive, our diversity and openness, our boundless capacity for risk and reinvention mean that the future should be ours.
But that potential will be realized only if our democracy works. Only if our politics reflects the decency of the people. Only if all of us, regardless of our party affiliation or particular interest, help restore the sense of common purpose that we so badly need right now.............
........stark inequality is also corrosive to our democratic principles. While the top one percent has amassed a bigger share of wealth and income, too many families, in inner cities and rural counties, have been left behind - the laid-off factory worker; the waitress and health care worker who struggle to pay the bills - convinced that the game is fixed against them, that their government only serves the interests of the powerful - a recipe for more cynicism and polarization in our politics..........
.......we must forge a new social compact - to guarantee all our kids the education they need; to give workers the power to unionize for better wages; to update the social safety net to reflect the way we live now and make more reforms to the tax code so corporations and individuals who reap the most from the new economy don't avoid their obligations to the country that's made their success possible. We can argue about how to best achieve these goals. But we can't be complacent about the goals themselves. For if we don't create opportunity for all people, the disaffection and division that has stalled our progress will only sharpen in years to come...........
For too many of us, it's become safer to retreat into our own bubbles, whether in our neighborhoods or college campuses or places of worship or our social media feeds, surrounded by people who look like us and share the same political outlook and never challenge our assumptions. The rise of naked partisanship, increasing economic and regional stratification, the splintering of our media into a channel for every taste - all this makes this great sorting seem natural, even inevitable. And increasingly, we become so secure in our bubbles that we accept only information, whether true or not, that fits our opinions, instead of basing our opinions on the evidence that's out there...............
How can elected officials rage about deficits when we propose to spend money on preschool for kids, but not when we're cutting taxes for corporations? How do we excuse ethical lapses in our own party, but pounce when the other party does the same thing? It's not just dishonest, this selective sorting of the facts; it's self-defeating. Because as my mother used to tell me, reality has a way of catching up with you............
..........protecting our way of life requires more than our military. Democracy can buckle when we give in to fear. So just as we, as citizens, must remain vigilant against external aggression, we must guard against a weakening of the values that make us who we are. ...........
........the fight against extremism and intolerance and sectarianism are of a piece with the fight against authoritarianism and nationalist aggression. If the scope of freedom and respect for the rule of law shrinks around the world, the likelihood of war within and between nations increases, and our own freedoms will eventually be threatened.........
...........our democracy is threatened whenever we take it for granted. All of us, regardless of party, should throw ourselves into the task of rebuilding our democratic institutions. When voting rates are some of the lowest among advanced democracies, we should make it easier, not harder, to vote. When trust in our institutions is low, we should reduce the corrosive influence of money in our politics, and insist on the principles of transparency and ethics in public service. .............
It falls to each of us to be those anxious, jealous guardians of our democracy; to embrace the joyous task we've been given to continually try to improve this great nation of ours. Because for all our outward differences, we all share the same proud title: Citizen.
Ultimately, that's what our democracy demands. It needs you. Not just when there's an election, not just when your own narrow interest is at stake, but over the full span of a lifetime.
Somehow I don’t think the incoming Twits acceptance speech will address any of these issues in any meaningful way, I truly hope that our neighbours to the south do not slide back into a place where democracy and diversity take second place to authoritarianism and exclusion but am not very optimistic in that regard.

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4 comments:

Owen Gray said...

At the moment, Rural, I see no reason for optimism.

Rural said...

Much instability appears to be the general consensus Owen

WeLead USA said...

Good article. Thanks for sharing information. WeLeadUSA also provides platform for discussion on American problems.
American Democracy

Rural said...

I do not generally publish comments with external links however WeLeadUSA appears to be a young organization genuinely working to improve democracy in the USA .... and they need all the help they can get right now!