Ask not what democracy can do for you, but what you can do for democracy / Columns / The Foreigner

Ask not what democracy can do for you, but what you can do for democracy. Election days, this year for Norway on 10-11 September, are too late to start thinking about politics. 2016 saw several forms of democracy in action. From referenda in the UK, Colombia, and Italy to a sudden leadership change in New Zealand. And aside from that, Mrs Clinton, how was your political career? 2017 brings potentially pivotal votes across Europe. Not just in Norway, but also including the Dutch, French, and German elections.

politics, democracy, debate, opinion, elections, paywall



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Ask not what democracy can do for you, but what you can do for democracy

Published on Tuesday, 3rd January, 2017 at 08:48 under the columns category, by Ilan Kelman.

Election days, this year for Norway on 10-11 September, are too late to start thinking about politics.

Inside the Norwegian Parliament
Could you end up sitting here?Inside the Norwegian Parliament
Photo: Ilan Kelman


2016 saw several forms of democracy in action. From referenda in the UK, Colombia, and Italy to a sudden leadership change in New Zealand. And aside from that, Mrs Clinton, how was your political career?

2017 brings potentially pivotal votes across Europe. Not just in Norway, but also including the Dutch, French, and German elections.

Do we end up in tears as results are announced or react adversely to snide humour about those who lost? Democracy being for and about ourselves comes with ups and downs.

Beyond the confirmation bias and fake news of social media and beyond moneyed interests driving populism from across political spectra, we can learn what drives those who disagree with us. We can go out onto the streets and talk to people, engaging in reasonable discussions about rationales for voting choices.

Except that too many viral videos show that reasonable discussions are not necessarily a hallmark of contemporary political opinions. Instead, many promote invective and falsehood as the political pinnacle. Analysis, expertise, and logic often lead to disparaging, rather than listening to, others.

I offer neither answers to nor recommendations for the liberty and curse of free-for-all speech. I do request that we all get involved, to dive deeply, and to favour content over rhetoric and solipsism.

Then, hopefully, we could be proud of casting informed votes for an informed democracy.

Ilan Kelman is a Reader in Risk, Resilience and Global Health at University College London.



Published on Tuesday, 3rd January, 2017 at 08:48 under the columns category, by Ilan Kelman.

This post has the following tags: politics, democracy, debate, opinion, elections, paywall.





  
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