Category Archives: democracy

What does patriotism mean? QUESTION

My wife is reading a book called Deep Democracy by Judith Green (no relation) as one of the required readings for her summer courses. My understanding of the book, and I haven’t seen it, is that deep democracy isn’t just a flag pin on the lapel; it’s working for the opportunity to make sure that each individual has the opportunity to pursue the American dream.

So what does patriotism mean to you? For me voting; but also being an informed voter. Perhaps working on a campaign; I owe time to TWO of them this year. Participate in the “marketplace of ideas”.

I believe that participating in the Census qualifies.

Civil protest, when injustice exists.

How about you?

And what do you think of this new study of sixteen countries, which “shows that in nearly every democracy surveyed, government helps assure that every eligible citizen is registered to vote. If the United States were to modernize voter registration in this way, it would add between 50 and 65 million citizens to the rolls.” How do you feel about compulsory voter registration? I think I’m against it, but I can be convinced.


The Wrong Way

When I first voted in an election primary, back in 1972, the New York State primary day was in June. There was one primary date for President, and for other offices. This was about the right length for the campaign.

Because of the nature of Presidential politics, though, the Presidential primary was moved to April, while the other primaries moved to September, creating, not so incidentally, greater expense. In subsequent years, the Presidential primary moved back into March, and in 2008, will move to February 5, where it will be on Supa Dupa Lollapalooza Tuesday. Meanwhile, the September primary has been moved this year from September 11 to September 18, out of “respect” for 9/11. You may recall, especially if you lived in New York State at the time, that 9/11 was Primary Day in the state six years ago. The primary was postponed at the time for a couple weeks.

The early Presidential primary bothers me because we could have a protracted, undoubtedly nasty, nine-month race for the White House, which will almost certainly generate a situation in which most voters will say, “A pox on both houses.”

The later non-Presidential primary bothers me too, because usually there is an incumbent in the race. Running against two or more challengers who aren’t winnowed out until eight weeks before the general election, gives even more advantage to the current officeholder. Moving the Primary from September 11 to the 18th just worsens that.

More to the point, I think voting on September 11 honors the victims of 9/11. Democracy is not postponed; the terrorists haven’t won, or whatever.

Expect this never to happen.
Shock Doctrine, a short (less than seven minutes) film by Alfonso Cuarón and Naomi Klein, directed by Jonás Cuarón, on Klein’s book.
While working on a reference question last week, I discovered, to my surprise, that most Arab-Americans identify as Christians.