Thursday, February 27, 2014

minority rule

Anyone needing a primer of concrete examples in how or why democracy seems to be on the skids in the U.S. could do worse than checking out a recent voice vote in Alabama's House Education Policy Committee.
By way of a voice vote, the House Education Policy Committee passed a bill that would require teachers to recite Christian prayers in public schools every day, even though the majority of members did not vote for it.
The news story says that the chairman (or in this case chairwoman) has discretion when tallying voice votes. It also says that none of those voting against the measure bothered to challenge the ruling. Hence, in a 3-2 vote, the two was greater than the three.

I am not inclined to play the pinko-lefty-limp-wristed liberal who thumbs a well-chiseled nose at some imagined backwater ignorance. Alabama may be a case in point, but I fully suspect that similar examples could easily be found north of the Mason-Dixon line. Maybe the topic would not be prayer in schools, but still ... my imagination suspects that an inability or unwillingness to distinguish between three and two is hardly confined to Alabama.

And where else do U.S. senators and congressmen and presidents come from if not the legislative swamps of the states they claim to represent? The states are the training ground -- or breeding ground, perhaps -- for a wider democracy withering on the vine.


  1. This is a silly table turning cartoon, but on topic...

  2. It's the same old songFebruary 28, 2014 at 1:38 PM

    There's a currently running commercial that is also on topic:

    Religious issues are for the most part distractions or disguised power grabs.

    I have been having an ongoing discussion for years with a friend. He blames elected officials for being unethical, I blame the voters for not being informed and acting powerlessly.

    The more nuanced version of the discussion is that
    1. Republics are not democracies
    2. In the US representatives are not obliged to poll their constituents and are not obliged to vote what the majority wants. Further, elected representatives quickly learn how to explain away their votes.
    3. Most non-contributing voters do not think there opinions matter much and often don't offer them, or don't make their cases forcefully enough.
    4. Contributing voters believe that their money counts for more than 1 person, 1 vote.
    5. For the most part not enough voters in any given area form large enough groups to sway elected representatives.

    Also, few seem to notice how the current further dumbing down of education as promoted by the corporate educational reformers know as "The Common Core" has very little on civics, voters rights, etc. Do not be so surprised that "democracy" is withering away.