Recently, I had the pleasure of viewing the DVD, “Dialogues in Democracy,” an outstanding TV program, produced by MacNeil/Lehrer, first aired January 4, 2008. The documentary films a cross section of Americans, divided into groups, each group’s mission is to reach a consensus for one of this nation’s current issues. The film not only reveals many of today’s short comings, but also how our democracy is supposed to function. This DVD would make an excellent civics lesson for every High School in America and an especially, appropriate gift for new, naturalized citizens of the United States. Actually, every American would benefit from seeing this program. At the moment, there are no DVD’s available. You can see parts of this program on www.icitizenforum.com by highlighting the “By the People,” icon.

The calm, intelligent discussions are in sharp contrast to the acrimonious, partisanship taking place in our politicized country. Each study group was able to reach a consensus though compromise, which is practically, impossible currently.

As I watched this film, it became obvious that many of us are shirking participating in our community, voting responsibly, and communicating with our politicians. We expect to enjoy our constitutional rights without accepting our civic duties. We complain bitterly, about the failures of our government, not realizing that much of the blame lies with us. Too many of us are irresponsible, and don’t vote. Those who do, too often, don’t vote for the candidate, who will truly represent them, which is even more serious. We vote for the incumbent because of name recognition, earmarks/pork, and party affiliation; instead of voting for the candidate, who has integrity, is unselfish, and incorruptible.

Apathetic Americans tolerate:

Bureaucratic agencies consistently failing, losing, and wasting large sums of money with no punishment of the offending personnel.

Members of Congress complicating the Tax Code to repay special interests for their campaign contributions.

Political parties marginalizing the popular vote by creating a complex election system to preserve their power and reward political insiders. 

Congressmen, who waste millions of tax payers’ money on unnecessary earmarks.

The program, “Dialogues in Democracy,” offers us an excellent civics lesson in demonstrating what we must do to improve our governance. Stop complaining and do something to repair our government. It’s quite simple, vote against the Congressional incumbents in the next election.

The Democracy Conservator Foundation welcomes comments and suggestions on more effective methods of reaching Americans and how to improve our message.

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