Thursday, 10 November 2016

Democracy Isn't Broken — We Are

The Opening of the First Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia by H.R.H. The Duke of Cornwall and York (later H.M. King George V), May 9, 1901 — better known as The Big Picture — by Tom Roberts
I fear for the future. This time around it is more acute. I seem to see everything through the filter of my 11-month-old son. I think about the world he is going to inherit and I die a bit inside. And that was before the 2016 presidential election.

Already, the media — which got this whole thing so, so wrong — are trying to parse what went wrong to prove their continuing relevance. And at once we find almost everything Trump said about the "elites" in the media to be completely right. We saw it here, too only a few months back, although with a better result: for all the Daily Telegraph's apoplectic fuming against Labor, the party managed to win seats in the great nation of Westsydnia. The media's diminishing influence will be rapidly accelerated after this election. Polls will never be trusted again after an annus horribilis for professional political junkies. When all is said and done, though, the better pollsters can take solace in the fact that they were really only 1–2% off the actual outcome. Most said it was going to be close, and the more sobering ones (which progressives like me in the public and in the media tended to ignore) warned that a small win for Clinton in the popular vote wouldn't necessarily translate into an Electoral College win. How right they were.

Which brings me back to democracy. Friends, if you're going to run around after the election has been held and hope to subvert the will of the people, then you're no better than Trump. If you're going to hope British MPs will ignore the referendum and not vote to invoke Article 50, then you're no less reckless than not accepting the result unless it goes your way. Accept the result, but don't necessarily be happy with it.

Democracy remains our least-worst system. It is not broken, but it is up to us to make it work. It is up to us to make the parties invoved work for us.

Fight and resist every single day and most importantly, learn from the victors. Learn from what they did this time around and harness it the next. That means getting out there next election and fighting for what you believe through any means possible. Join a political activist group, hell, join a political party. They will be made stronger and more relevant by your involvement, not weaker. They will become more represenative of the population the more of the population they have as members. Ultimately, it's up to us. By us, I mean anyone under 40. We're the ones who are going to have to pick up the pieces in four, eight, or 20 year's time. Otherwise our kids will look at our generation with contempt as the group that let this horror happen.

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