Monday, February 26, 2024

#57 / Democracy At Risk

Leon Panetta, pictured, is a former Member of Congress, who represented the Monterey Bay Area, including Santa Cruz County, for sixteen years. He has also served (not at the same time) as Secretary of Defense, Director of the CIA, White House Chief of Staff, and Director of the Office of Management and Budget. Click this link for a Wikipedia write-up. Panetta is now the Chairman of the Panetta Institute for Public Policy, which is located in Monterey County. 

In the Winter 2023 edition of the Panetta Institute "Update," Panetta had this to say, under a headline that read, "Democracy at Risk."

In 1937, The New Republic ran a series on "The Future of Democracy." Leading writers like Bertrand Russell and John Dewey were asked: "Do you think that political democracy is on the wane?" The lead contributor, the Italian philosopher, Benedetto Croce, took issue with the question. He said that this type of question was like asking if it was going to rain today. The trouble, Croce explained, is "that political problems are not external forces beyond a society's control; they are forces within a society's control. We need solely to make up our minds and act."

I was very pleased to see Panetta's statement. Today, many look upon politics as some kind of "spectator sport." They "observe." They "report." They "bitch."  

As I have pointed out quite frequently, politics - and specifically the politics of self-government - is not about what we observe; it's about what we do! It's about the actions we take, and voting, while "necessary" - while it's important - is not "sufficient." "Self-government" means that we, ourselves, must be directly involved - doing things. Acting! Governing (not just griping).

Is "Democracy At Risk"?

I am with Benedetto Croce. We decide!

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