We would, request reader permission, to suggest two relevant definitions:
- “Democracy,” is a system of governance, by which the eligible members of a population, determine governmental policy and action, as expressed by their vote.
- “Cold War,” is a relationship of significant hostility, between parties (most often, Nation- States), characterized by threats, propaganda and other methods, but short of actual warfare.
The theme of this mini-essay, is best introduced, by a wry quote from the brilliant and witty, H.L. Menken: “Democracy is a pathetic belief in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance.” America’s past election results may lend a good measure of empirical wisdom, to Mr. Menken’s observation.
We ask forgiveness, for our repetitive indulgence, in referring to the wisdom and prescience, of Thomas Jefferson, in his famous declaration that, in order for a Democratic Republic to be successful, one must have an informed and educated citizenry. The empirical observation, that this is a standard, yet to be realized, has eternally, galled the relative minority, of those of us, who do see ourselves, as, educated and informed.
It boggles the mind that authoritative studies, demonstrate, that there are many people who cannot name, even one, of our three branches of government, that less than 25% know who their U.S. Senators are, and, remarkably, only 50% are aware that their State has two of them.
Sir Winston Churchill, is famously known to have said: “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the other forms that have been tried, from time to time.”
The eternal issue, is how to organize a community of 180 million people, where needed, so that it sufficiently comprehends, and is sensitive to the Nation’s needs. Solutions, such as extra ballots for the well- educated, literacy tests, the “University Vote” and others, have been contemplated, but history shows these programs, to be uniformly, perverted instead, to the tactical disenfranchisement of certain groups of people (example: “literacy tests” in the South).
It so appears to us, that it was at the end of the (nation- unifying), Cold War, that America began to experience, deep divisions, which appear to have become visibly defined and permanent. The use of the new nouns, “tribe” and “tribal,” came then to designate, groups of like- thinking people, who predictably vote, in accordance with their group, irrespective of their (possibly, divergent) independent belief. Representative examples of such phenomena are: left versus right -wing oriented groups, supporters or detractors of religious, geographical, ethnic and religious or partisan identification, supporters, or opponents, of gun control, the woman’s right to abortion, same sex marriage, tax policy and the death penalty. These insular cohorts of common belief, view as the enemy, all other groups and individuals, who do not espouse views similar to theirs.
To us, the most disagreeable, and perilous to the welfare and existence of established society, are the many millions of Americans, who see themselves, and their lives, as being subservient to, and dominated by, perceived and hated, “elites,” defined: as Americans with College, or higher education. The latter, is the most divisive, reductionist, and dangerous delusion, and constitutes the fundamental basis, for our expressed sentiment, and the title of this mini-essay, “America’s Cold War.” This neurotic conception, may serve as a sufficient reason, for some, for not casting, a “meaningless and futile” vote.
Statistical records of the 2016 election, indicate that 102.7 million, “no-shows, vastly outnumbered the 63 million that voted for Donald Trump. An educational program, is vitally needed, to increase the motivation to vote, so that the results of elections, better match the will of the people. Courses must be designed and dedicated, to educate (particularly, the young people) in civics and political engagement. To increase the rate of citizen voting, our educational programs, for the young, (as well as adults) must stress, moral reasoning, the evaluation of historical experience and the educational and social skills employed in building political positions. We must, in such educational programs, in addition to such subjects, responsibly, foster, the development of a more humane and empathic citizen and voter.
With all that said, we are very pleased and thankful, to be able to honestly aver, that our system, such as it, unfortunately is, has, nevertheless, been persistently successful in the continuing pursuit of the Nation’s vital goal, of full civil rights for all.