How To Train Good Citizens Of Democracy
The midterms offered some relief to those of us concerned about the future of democracy in the United States. Elections deniers in swing states lost their bids, most eventually conceding defeat. It was a Dunkirk moment for us, an escape from the grasp of craziness, allowing us to regroup and fight another day.
No matter the results of the election, it doesn’t solve the rot that has encroached on our society, evident from the vile hate speech overtaking social media, the extremists who want to burn down our system, and the hockey crowd discourse permeating once mundane school board meetings and town hall gatherings across the country.
Our leaders have been setting poor examples for the rest of us to follow. Even the so-called normal ones, like the GOP chairman of New Jersey who called his newly re-elected Congresswoman a “piece of shit” have bought into the assholery.
Back in pre-crazy times, this person would have been shown the door on his political career. Today, the story barely receives a mention at a low-circulation local news site.
The rot exists on both sides of the spectrum. The elitist attitude of some of my friends on the left turns off many neighbors who would otherwise align themselves on the issues they care about the most.
Elections cannot fix these attitudes on the growing extremes but instead requires a ground-up approach teaching the basics of civility, pragmatism, and cooperation. It’s up to us to demonstrate what good citizenry looks like.
These eight lessons will get us there.
1. Focus on solving problems instead of exploiting fears and hate
If it’s approval you’re after, you’ll likely get more from bashing opposing views and ideas instead of putting forth your own. That’s one reason why we live in a dysfunctional world. It’s not the fault of our leaders and politicians. They’re merely responding to what produces the results they want — power.
There’s a famous Charlie Munger quote, “Show me the incentive, and I’ll show you the outcome.” We incentivize our leaders to feed our hunger for vile speech and Twitter takedowns, and so that’s…