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I Believe in Democracy

How I Got Here


I believe in democracy. I believe it is my civic duty to vote, and I have never failed to vote in any election, whether large or small, since the franchise was extended to me 46 years ago. But over the course of my voting career, I have seen my allegiance swing dramatically. I began as a classic liberal, wanting to create a more just society and seeing government as a logical tool for this purpose until bureaucracy, red tape, and waste raised my hackles. Then I took a more conservative tack, wanting everything to be a more scaled-back, manageable size, and everyone to shoulder his or her own responsibility. But I had loved ones on Social Security, and I saw first hand what a blessing to all a well-run socialist safety net can be. Living in a modern, industrialized society, I saw environmental degradation and pollution all about me, and apocalyptic fears made me an environmentalist.

Still, I marveled at what that modern, industrial, capitalist society had wrought, and the scale and economics of the corporatist inspired my awe. I wanted to live in that modern world, but I nevertheless wanted that world as also my own life, to be oriented toward the good, to have moralist feet firmly planted on the ground. And, sometimes, I simply recoiled from trying to sort it all out, and I just wanted to live my own life in my own way, not bothering or being bothered by anyone, hiding away in my libertarian camouflage suit.

So what’s my agenda? Pieces of all the above. But in the process of trying to find politicians who spoke for me, some salient facts jumped out at me:

  1. 99.5% of all politics is rhetoric

  2. The real agenda is seldom mentioned in the pretty speeches

  3. Propaganda, crises-creating situations, and emotionally baiting language are the tools of the trade

  4. Media and scandal grease the works

  5. The ‘language’ of all agendas is money – it’s the medium of the message

So, I wrote a game to keep this picture clear in my mind. Because the whole process sure looked like an elaborate game to me. My game taught me to look for the hidden agenda and to think about who is juicing the works and why. It made me think about how deadly getting fixated on one, narrow agenda can be.

Play the game! Run with the big dogs and buy yourself a politician! Are you going to take the high road and buy only positive ads or be lured by the greater ‘kick’ of negative ones?

But, in or out of the game, keep asking:

What’s the Real Agenda? … because everyone’s got one!

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