Is this what Democracy looks like?

program date: 
Wed, 06/24/2009

Words can be used to communicate ideas between people, to describe things we can't point to.  Words can also be used to separate and manipulate.  This happens in our media all the time.  Remember when the prior administration talked about "spreading democracy"?  

This was a divisive choice of words - some of us think - hooray! spreading democracy! pass the popcorn!  to others, sounds a little like cultural imperialism.

Implicit in this phrase is the assumption that we own democracy.  in a way, in a global sense, we do - the US has the ability to more or less define who has it, who does it, what does it mean.  

In remembrance of independence day, We the People questions our right to use this term - by co-opting it, molding it, dissecting it, refining it, perhaps obliterating it.

Why? because one use for mass media is to help us understand our world.  And some think that an informed populace required for a functioning democracy.  So if you and I can't even agree on the terms, how are we supposed to build this thing together? and maybe when we look at "mob rule" "one man one vote"  who knows, maybe we won't even want it.

We read mini-essays from listeners answering the following questions:  
What is the definition of democracy?
Does the US measure up?

We were also joined on the phone by local Pakistani-American Saba Ahmed who has had personal experiences of discrimination as a Muslim.  Portland attorney Mark Kramer joined us in the studio.

 

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