I have come to believe that democracy demands hard work: It requires of me my time and much effort. Democracy is not so much about freedoms but more about responsibility. To accept this responsibility is to empower me as an individual: I vote, I judge by trial my fellow peers, I participate in a representative government. Democracy celebrates my differences between me and you, forces me to think about you and me. I choose to think of democracy as a shared responsibilty, not an alienating experience. The freedoms that democracy gives is certainly the right to do nothing or even not to say anything. However,
when I go down that path, I let others choose for me. It is so much easier.
Democracy is hard work. Homework is essential to voting. Who likes doing work at home. It a lonely endeavor, it takes discipine,the subjects are rarely of interest . The ballot I fill out is a test of how much homework I have done. I confess to have done zero homework in my past votng history. I have fond myself behind a curtain deciding who has a better sounding name just for the satisfaction of filling out the ballot completely. The ballot is the kind of test where guessing has negative consequences.
Howework takes time. I have to gather facts, verify the facts from different sources. I determine facts from fiction in the campaign ads I try not to watch. Democracy requires more time going to debates between candidates reading opinion from special interest groups. listening to cmpaign promises, and then there are the propositions and that huge 20-40 page booklet produced by a nonpartisan legislature analyst. I promised myself I will read one of those in its entirety someday.
I confess I have voted really poorly. I have let my spouse tell me how to vote. I have used those cheat sheets that come in the mail to tell you exactly who and what to vote for from some obscure organization. I cannot remember to this day if I contacted my representative to tell him to vote for or against going to war.
I have done democracy an injustice and I vow to do it better Democracy deserves my hardwork. If I do it right it should bring me closer to you. In this I believe.