Posts Tagged ‘democracy’

Washington DC isn’t a state. Why not?

July 31, 2020

Despite America’s founding principles, politics perpetuates taxation without representation in the United States. Kimberly Mas and Madeline Marshall explore why Washington DC is not a state in this Vox video.

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‘This Is How Democracy Dies’

October 28, 2016

Retired Supreme Court Justice David Souter was interviewed by Margaret Warner of PBS NewsHour on September 14, 2012, the 225th anniversary of the U.S. Constitution.

Justice Souter: “I don’t worry about our losing republican government in the United States because I’m afraid of a foreign invasion. I don’t worry about it because I think there is going to be a coup by the military as has happened in some of other places. What I worry about is that when problems are not addressed, people will not know who is responsible. And when the problems get bad enough, as they might do, for example, with another serious terrorist attack, as they might do with another financial meltdown, some one person will come forward and say, ‘Give me total power and I will solve this problem.’

“That is how the Roman republic fell. Augustus became emperor, not because he arrested the Roman Senate. He became emperor because he promised that he would solve problems that were not being solved.

“If we know who is responsible, I have enough faith in the American people to demand performance from those responsible. If we don’t know, we will stay away from the polls. We will not demand it. And the day will come when somebody will come forward and we and the government will in effect say, ‘Take the ball and run with it. Do what you have to do.’

That is the way democracy dies. And if something is not done to improve the level of civic knowledge, that is what you should worry about at night.”

Video of full interview here

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Suspending Democracy

October 24, 2016

Suspending Democracy

October 19, 2016, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Chris Wallace: “I want to ask you here on the stage tonight: Do you make the same commitment that you will absolutely—sir, that you will absolutely accept the result of this election?”

Donald Trump:  “I will look at it at the time. I’m not looking at anything now. I’ll look at it at the time ….”

Chris Wallace: “But, sir, there is a tradition in this country—in fact, one of the prides of this country is the peaceful transition of power and that no matter how hard-fought a campaign is, that at the end of the campaign, that the loser concedes to the winner—not saying that you’re necessarily going to be the loser or the winner, but that the loser concedes to the winner and that the country comes together, in part for the good of the country. Are you saying you’re not prepared now to commit to that principle?”

Donald Trump: “What I’m saying is that I will tell you at the time. I’ll keep you in suspense. OK?”

Um, no.

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

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Hong Kong Elections: Umbrella Protest Parties Win

September 12, 2016

Hong Kong Elections: Umbrella Protest Party Wins Big
In late 2014, despite the 1997 promise of local autonomy (“One Country, Two Systems”), China’s ruling party proposed new restrictive measures for Hong Kong elections. Hong Kong responded with 80 days of street demonstrations. Young protesters carried umbrellas to shield themselves from police pepper spray, and the movement became known as the Umbrella Revolution.

While authorities suppressed the pro-democracy street protests, the movement for local self-government continued. Last week, a record voter turnout elected six leaders of the Umbrella Movement to the Legislative Council of Hong Kong and Macau. The next Hong Kong Chief Executive election is scheduled for March 26, 2017.

More:

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The Umbrella Revolution

September 30, 2014

The Umbrella Revolution

Student protesters in Hong Kong’s Central District have been protecting themselves with umbrellas and plastic sheets. It’s raining tear gas and pepper spray.

Hong Kong was returned to Chinese sovereignty in 1997 with the promise of “One Country, Two Systems,” a pledge that HK citizens could choose their own leaders by 2017. Beijing has reneged on this, hence the pro-democracy protests and the umbrellas. But don’t try to email, text, post, or tweet the word “umbrella” in the city today or you’ll get in trouble with Chinese authorities.

Some Hong Kong protesters put down their umbrellas to meet police with the “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” gesture they learned from Ferguson’s protesters, but they wear surgical masks and goggles because it doesn’t stop the pepper spray.

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The Internet, Democracy, and Repression

April 2, 2011

The Web: Tool of Democracy or Repression?

Everybody knows that social media challenged or overthrew repressive regimes in North Africa, the Middle East, and Eastern Europe. Everyone knows that the Internet promotes Democracy, right? Not so fast, says Evgeny Morozov.

Mr. Morozov emphasizes that networked digital tools can be used to maintain political power as well as challenge it, and recently spoke to the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) about this. The video of his complete lecture is here, but this short animated excerpt is easier to follow and more fun:

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A New Spirit Sweeps Egypt

February 13, 2011

A New Spirit Sweeps Egypt

Egyptians have been sweeping up debris in Cairo’s Tahrir Square after demonstrations there swept President Hosni Mubarak from power. Popular unrest continues to sweep the Middle East and North Africa, but it remains to be seen if the Egyptian military will permit a clean transition to representative government.

 

Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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