Democracy From the Bottom Up
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE
Because in the American political system, we all have a voice.
By OZY Editors
Think your vote doesn’t matter? The rise of libertarianism, the push for campaign finance reform and the growing influence of governors show just how important the individual is in American politics.
There has been a lot of talk recently about marijuana legalization — increasing tax revenue for states, getting nonviolent offenders out of the prison system, protecting personal liberty and the benefits for those with severe illnesses. These are good and important conversations to have. But a key dimension of the issue has been left out of the discussion until now: the marketing machine that will spring up to support these now-legal businesses, and the detrimental effect this will have on our kids. Curious how this might work? Look no further than Big Tobacco, writes former U.S. Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy. Read the story here.
The flaw in the design of Hong Kong’s proposed democracy — that has galvanized more than 100,000 protestors — is precisely the same flaw that sits at the core of America’s democracy. Under China’s proposed scheme, Hong Kong voters would get to choose from among two or three candidates — but a committee of 1,200 Hong Kong residents would pick those candidates. The candidates Americans get to choose from, of course, have been selected by voters in primaries. But to be able to run, candidates must secure an extraordinary amount of campaign cash. The providers of that cash aren’t all of us. They are instead a tiny fraction of the 1 percent. Read the story here.
They’re no longer on the fringes. The libertarians are now officially mainstream. Proof? The New York Times Magazine cites the popularity of Republican Sen. Rand Paul and opposition to American “boots on the ground” in Syria and Iraq. But it’s much more than a moment. It’s the culmination of a powerful narrative that’s been building over the past 30 years in American politics. This is a movement — and it won’t live or die on the shoulders of one policy or one individual, Grover Norquist argues. Read the story here.
There’s a new star on the geopolitical stage: the city. According to a number of scholars, cities have usurped the role nation-states used to play. While presidents fight their legislatures and party elders squabble over ideology, cities are quietly getting things done: ramping up early education, tackling climate change, luring investment, creating jobs and, perhaps most important, modeling effective governance. While the mayoralty hasn’t been a presidential launchpad in the U.S., mayors — and coalitions of mayors — are gaining influence at the federal policy level. Or at least trying to. Read the story here.
- OZY Editors, OZY Author Contact OZY Editors