We are One, so lets build Democracy by the People!
We are each a single individual, yet also identify ourselves as one with our families, communities, religions, countries, etc. In addition, I propose we remember that we, as humanity are one in which the individual is necessary and interconnected.
“Take me to your Leader” is a widely understood and shared idea. And it really sounds weird in 21st Century North America, where we often have more than one leader, depending on the situation. Historically, humanity has seen “leaders” as people who make decisions that others follow. And leaders are often compared to shepherds and parents, taking care of those that are with them. Think about the people you see as leaders: are they making decisions, or enforcing rules? Are they inspiring and setting goals? Oh, and are your leaders usually right? This train of thought could make you wonder if you are a follower, a member, or as a late US president put it, a “silent majority”.
Even our time-honored teen rebels and revolutionists have leaders they follow, with very few exceptions. These rebels follow many learned rules and priorities that are largely shared with their communities and neighbors, and usually become leaders themselves thanks to their willingness to be different. Of course, leadership is also a military trait, and people often assume that military leaders are also great leaders in other areas, but this would be the subject of another article.
So, what does leadership have to do with democracy? Do we elect leaders, or do we elect persons to represent us in government? Or Both? Well, I know we often elect popular individuals, other times we elect strong leaders and even warlords, and lately I’ve also noticed dictators being elected as well as individuals who openly declare they do not believe in democracy and serving the people of their country. This is truly a paradox if we assume everyone wants to practice “self governance” in their nation. Yet we do it regularly, either following the rule of “the squeaky wheel gets the oil”, giving votes to the loudest complainer, or following the path of least resistance or least effort. Of course, there is also the so-called protest votes where people think they are punishing their elected representatives by replacing them with someone they would never otherwise elect.
Government is certainly designed to be for the people, with elected representatives making decisions for their communities… but it is not yet of the people, and much less by the people, simply because after voting the citizen’s power cannot be enforced directly. This is one of the reasons why most politicians are seen as untrustworthy: we often elect who we see as the most effective to solve a problem, and not the most effective to help us thrive as one: one community, one region, one humanity.
Historically, there was no choice and no other way to have government. Even the development of bureaucratic organizations and the rule of law followed the pattern of leaders making decisions for their people, and elected representatives had many of the prerogatives of monarchs and nobles because that was the way you treated heads of government and other leaders. Diplomats learned all the rules, the protocol of who decided what, and under what conditions, and many constitutions made it clear that the military served the elected government, called the civil authority.
Yet the 21st Century offers technology in which we as individuals are categorized and our choices and behavior predicted by algorithms (mathematical formulas) that are worth big money for Amazon, Facebook and Google, to name just a few of the marketing services that use “big data” to predict and manipulate what we do with our money. Sadly, these same tools seem to have been used to influence our choices in elections, too, bringing political propaganda to new audiences.
But this technology could actually help us create the government by the people and of the people, since we could all instantly share our thoughts and preferences with our elected, not as a Facebook post, but with the precision the big three have in suggesting what we would like.
Thus, as individuals we could be unique, yet as a community we would clearly be one: working directly to assist our elected representative in the exercise of the authority and power we delegated to him or her. And I am proposing to develop this new way of using technology in the coming months. How? Well, I’m planning to have you, the reader, become one of thosein the community whose incites will be helping in the development and testing of this new form of leadership and government. Will you join me? I hope so.
Manny, Manuel Perez