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Still reaching for democracy.

Government and democracy

Today democracy is only a word. For the Greek philosophers it meant a government of the people. Democracy is not only a dream throughout the world but it's an ephemeral product that our president wants to sell abroad in exchange for oil.

We Americans find it difficult to separate this government-type image from our economic thinking based on something called capitalism. Both democracy and capitalism are like a two-layered cake dipped in a strong religious sauce. This is what we refer to as “true” democracy in this country.

Few other countries are going to buy it. This is one of the reasons why we are not too keen on our relatives, England, Canada and France. On the other hand we are not going to buy the type of democracy practiced in the Scandinavian countries where much of the sauce is left out and where capitalism is not a substitute religion and where puritanism certainly never made any inroads.

Today, in America there are religions based on capitalism; it seems more on capitalism than the actual teachings of the bible. To outsiders, it appears that we are more capitalistic than religious and more church-going than practicing.

Our democracy was born in this country at a time when few nations dreamed of democracy. It is innate to our culture and to us as individuals. It has its own meaning to us. Much of it is reflected in our vision of the broadness of this country, in its early wilderness and in the period of the wild west, guns and whiskey.

Yet it still does not reach the aims of a people's government conceived of by Greek philosophers. As Churchill said, it the worst government except for all the rest.

Our state, county and local governments may appear more democratic than our national government but they are no more representative of the people. We have elections and people vote, yet government is no closer to determining the people's will and needs.

In Shorewood for example, we are coming up with an election and no choices. These people do not even need citizens' votes. Therefore they have no real constituencies and represent only themselves. This is a far reach from the Greeks' concept of democracy.

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