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Democracy requires collaboration

 
October 10, 2022

It’s been said that for democracies to work, people need to show up. But what are we showing up for? If we voters participate in a democratic election only to elect leaders who will ram our own values down another’s throat, then we’re voting for a tribalistic authoritarian government. And what of our leaders? The hallmark characteristic of democratic leadership is a collaborative approach to decision-making. So our leaders need to participate not just in getting themselves elected, but afterwards by engaging in negotiations.

So do the people for whom we’re voting know how to reach across the aisle and negotiate?

I’m old enough to have seen our leaders do this regularly. Yes, we complained of “pork barrel spending” and corruption back then, but at least our leaders understood the value of negotiations which often included compromise. That was their job … to listen to all sides of issues and to negotiate in good faith. After all, our constitution wouldn’t even exist without having been negotiated in good faith and with lots of compromise.

Democracy is not an end result. It’s a process. And the more collaboration, the more credible the system. That’s simply because the more people feel that their views have been represented and fairly considered by their leaders, the more people will buy into the decisions made by them.

If we want a united and functional Democratic Republic, then we need to demand that our leaders behave democratically. They all need to start negotiating again. So lets ask our candidates two questions. Do they know how, and are they willing, to reach across the aisle and negotiate? If we don’t, then they won’t, and we’ll get what we ask for.

Georgia Earley
Bonners Ferry

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