Post # 697       THE ACTIVE WITNESS

Even those fortunate enough to reside in a representative democracy might well arise each morning to feel part of a hapless, receptive, audience as to the affairs of the day. Similar to the act of reading the history of man’s past, the information garnered appears enlightening, but already determined, and exists, entirely independent of, and far removed from, his personal participation. Considering his one, feckless, vote he, understandably, may assume the state of his personal irrelevance and conclude that the subject of current events, is merely a spectator sport.

In this context, it is his morning newspaper, or, alternatively, the electronic media, that advises him as to whether he should anticipate a personally, satisfactory or stressful day, regarding sundry matters, domestic, international, economic, meteorological or otherwise. While involved in his regular morning ritual, of brushing his teeth, showering, shaving and having breakfast, he, feels, analogous to a just arriving, theater patron, newly apprised of the dramatic presentation du jour. His responsive reaction to the information is a joint function of his traditional point of view and personal expectations.

Consequently, therefore, the importance of diligent and factually accurate sources of information, derived from newspapers and other media, is no less than existential. Tactical attacks or disparagement, of these sources by autocratic leaning individuals, like Donald Trump, are, indisputably, a fundamental attack upon reality, in order to create a false (or alternate) reality, that would favor their undemocratic dogma.

The citizen may thus perceive himself, functionally, as a mere spectator, one of a vast audience of ineffectual witnesses to daily changing events. In bright contrast, to such perception, is the empirical phenomenon that significant numbers of like-minded citizens, voting in a virtual bloc, do possess the requisite potency to edit and improve the extant, presentation of events.

 A cogent and illustrative, albeit, negative example, can be observed, in the recent promulgation of, entirely, unconstitutional and immoral legislation, by several right-wing controlled, State Legislatures, which have promulgated legislation intended to delimit the voting power of America’s black community, (which heavily opposed Donald Trump, and supported Joseph Biden). Such actions constitute not only, unseemly and shameful behavior on the part of any State Legislature, but constitute flagrant acts of malignant unconstitutionality, and infringement of democracy. Yet, for the purposes of the theme of this writing, does (perversely), acknowledge and unmistakably, illustrate the power and functional impact of large, multiple voters of common interest.

It is beyond question, that the salient and definitional function of a democracy is the protected franchise of its citizens to vote. Thus, we, as American citizens, possess the esoteric opportunity of functioning, as desired, as a mere witness or seat holder in a passive audience or, otherwise, as a proportionate and participating director, of the presenting, theatrical action. The opportunity for the exercise of such dual roles constitute the systemic essence, and value, of an authentic representative democracy.  

For this reason, it is existentially necessary in order to sustain a democracy, to have citizens who are sufficiently, literate and informed, as, famously, and presciently, declared by President Thomas Jefferson. Informed and sufficiently educated American citizens, with their considered exercise of the vote, thereby, jointly share in the role of the Director of, as well as the witnesses to a humanistic, and ethically performed drama of their own production.                    


Published by


Retired from the practice of law'; former Editor in Chief of Law Review; Phi Beta Kappa; Poet. Essayist Literature Student and enthusiast.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s