Degaming Democracy

When I was a child I was taught the dream of Democracy. I believed that fourscore and many years ago, humanity created a new idea and a new country where Democracy could thrive.

Declaration-of-Independence-broadside-1776-Jamestown-Yorktown-Foundation2At the core of this vision is the possibility that we, the people, are the sovereign. Government is something that exists with our consent and for our benefit.

There is no “Them” in our Democracy. It is an imperfect means of creating a consensus that might express the will of the people.

Today, our elections have become a game. They have become a business. They have become a dangerous tool for the unscrupulous and self-interested to diminish the value of the individual voter in favor of entertainment, domination, control and power.

Today I write not on behalf of any particular candidate, but in favor of an idea. The possibility of Democracy is not dead.

Some of you know that I ran for public office not long ago, and came close to winning. Many of the people who I spoke with said that they privately supported me, or their ideas of me, but that they would align themselves with my opponent because it was the “political” thing to do.

The game they were playing was this: vote for winner, and you become a winner. If you cast your vote for a loser, then you’ve wasted your vote.

They also believed the lie that, after election, the winner would remember and represent them.

Today the person I ran against is in jail, and every single person who I meet tells me they wished that I had won.

It is up to each of us to stop playing the game.

We, the people (of all genders) are frequently called upon, in this confusing world, to cast our votes.

Vote. Debate.  Participate in a government that derives its just powers from the consent of the governed.

Perhaps, in this campaign there is no candidate who represents you.

Then look ahead and find a candidate, make a candidate, nurture a candidate or become a candidate.

We have a choice. We can play the game of democracy, or we can live the dream of Democracy.

For now, though, I make one simple request.

Vote for.

Vote for the person who you want to represent you.

To do otherwise is to play the game.