If you live in a representative democracy, you may be “fed up” with most politicians, I am.
The problem is not “the politicians”, the problem is us, the citizens, because representative democracy pushes politicians to behave the way they do. Most of us do not know there is a better democracy; direct democracy, it fixes representative democracy.
The root problem with representative democracy is that it gives politicians more power than the power they need to govern, we have to take their excess power away. Because representative democracies give politicians all that power, politicians also fight like hell to get it.
The fight starts as soon as one electoral campaign is over, the next one starts in the very first session of the new legislature, in the first interviews and statements.
The party who wins governs with both eyes focused in the next election, not the concerns of the people; “what can we do?, what can we get away with?, from now to the next election?”. For the parties in the opposition it is about “what do we do to win the next election?”; the mirror image of the party in power.
This antagonism among politicians filters down to their supporters and to the nation, through the media, who also become contaminated by the antagonism.
The problem affects all representative democracies; they split themselves into “progressives” or “conservatives”.
People on either side can not comprehend the other. They see each other as “fanatical”, “egotistic”, “foolish”, “naïve”, “not for the people”, even “evil”; not very good.
This division also fosters the growth of parties with extreme views on the Right and the Left. This weakens society even more.
Another harmful effect of the power representative democracy gives politicians is that politicians govern less and less for ordinary voters; they govern more for the lobbies who help them win elections, or get them juicy jobs in corporations and institutions once they leave politics, etc. The inevitable result of this situation is that voters, gradually, become more disenchanted with representative democracy. But that may be good if it helps them look at direct democracy as the practical alternative.
Direct democracy solves these problems because it turns power around; it gives the people direct power over the politicians. In a direct democracy the politicians have to do what the people want, they have no choice.
This forces politicians in government and the opposition to cooperate; unheard of, right? They know that otherwise the people will stop the law, the policy, the budget, anything the politicians want to do.
When they cooperate, politicians can no longer be at each other’s throats either, politics becomes civil again. This also decreases the political temperature among voters and in the media.
A new perspective also develops in society; issues, policies, laws, etc., are now seen as concrete problems to resolve, not as another opportunity to savage rivals, make grandiose statements about “dreams”, “happiness”, “mission”, “prosperity”, “the future of our children”, etc., that sound great, but are mostly hot air.
The US is the prime example of polarization in a representative democracy, but other representative democracies, such as France, the UK, Germany, Canada, etc., would greatly benefit from direct democracy too. Practically all representative democracies suffer from degrees of polarization that weaken those societies.
In a direct democracy people also trust their politicians more. It is because the politicians can not afford to “forget” the voters because the voters can step in at any time, they do not need to wait for the next election.
Conclusion: the antagonistic politicians and politics you have in your country are the product of representative democracy, the root problem is representative democracy, the politician’s never-ending fighting in parliament and the media are just the symptoms.
Do not blame the politicians, or the voters “of the other party” for electing “their” politicians; it is us, all voters of all parties, that are to blame for not pushing for direct democracy.
How do we know direct democracy dials down the political temperature and fosters cooperation among rival parties?; because that is what happens, decade after decade, after decade in Switzerland, under direct democracy, at the local, regional and national levels.
Do not believe me? I understand; just go to internet and search “direct democracy” or “Swiss direct democracy”, that is what I did. Soon it became obvious to me direct democracy is the way forward for democracy. I believe you will reach the same conclusion, perhaps you already have. Let us spread awareness of direct democracy in our countries!.