Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Frances Moore Lappe: "Bush Isn’t the Problem: The Weakness of our Thin Democracy

"I call the simple democracy-equals-elections-plus-a-market notion thin democracy. It’s thin, frail and failing because it is always vulnerable to takeover by a narrow, self-interested group.

Thin democracy has always been inadequate to serve our interests. But today it is deadly:

Thin democracy can’t solve today’s problems from global warming to global hunger. They are too complex, pervasive, and interconnected to be addressed from the top down. Solutions depend on the insights, experience, and buy-in of people most affected—all thwarted when citizens are cut out and manipulated as decisions get made secretly by the few.

Thin democracy is deadly because it assumes the worse -– that we’re nothing more than selfish little competitors out to get our stuff. This shabby caricature of humans fails to tap our deep positive needs to connect in strong, fair communities and to be problem solvers ourselves.

Thin democracy, ironically, fails to register our destructive capacities, too. From Nazism to Abu Ghraib to notorious lab psych experiments in which normal people set in oppressor roles become brutes, the proof is in: “Nice people” do evil things when conditions encourage it, and thin democracy’s extreme power imbalance is one proven condition."

Good, yes, indeed the situation that the Bush administration is involved with could not have happened had their not been a serious breakdown in the democratic fabric of our country previous to the 2000 election. In fact, prior to 9/11, this was exactly what people were saying: that the 2000 election debacle was due to the sorry state of our democracy in the first place, not due to Nader or the Green Party--at least people who were honest with themselves. Without a fallen democracy the 2000 election couldn't have been stolen.

Bush was allowed to happen because of the rot which exists in Washington. That rot, pending no serious overhauls, which may happen thanks to Abramoff, is likely to stay there even if Bush is removed.

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