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Guest Blog: Is This What Democracy Looks Like?

By Jeff Schoener, the NLP Wordsmythe

This sounds catchy and easy to chant in public* and calls forth a single modality – Visual.   So, ‘What does democracy sound like?’ and ‘How does democracy feel?’ should be logical questions if one were to take but a moment.  In order for one to answer any of the above questions, one must understand the perspectives in which one perceives this thing called democracy.

Merriam-Webster’s definition: Democracy

  1. a form of government in which people choose leaders by voting
  2. an organization or situation in which everyone is treated equally and has equal rights

The concept is defined only with specific perceptions.

What if others would see democracy through American cowboy movies?

In October 2001, I went to Egypt.  I was quite surprised when the Egyptians who wanted to connect with me in order to separate me from my money would ask, “Where are you from?’  As it was less then one month from September 11th, I cautiously replied, “America.”  They immediately responded, “Howdy!”  At first I was surprised until I began to understand that Egyptians perception of America came directly from western movies and television shows.   John Wayne and Lone Ranger democracy consisted of an attitude, a fast gun, a fist of justice and simple talk.  The color of one’s hat would indicate just which side of the law you lived.  This was simple and shades of grey were never truly discussed.  Real governing bodies are far more complex.

As it turns out, I learned that there are many different organizational varieties of democracy.  Here are a few that I found in the web that may contain some grey areas:

  • Deliberative democracy – focuses on hearing out every policy alternative, from every direction, and providing time to research them all.
  • Multiparty democracy – two-party system requires voters to align themselves in large blocs, sometimes so large that they cannot agree on any overarching principles.
  • Totalitarian democracy – system of government in which lawfully elected representatives maintain the integrity of a nation state whose citizens, while granted the right to vote, have little or no participation in the decision-making process of the government.
  • Religious democracy – values of religion play a role in the public arena in a society populated by religious people.
  • New Democracy – Maoist concept based on Mao Tse Tung’s “Bloc of Four Classes” theory in post-revolutionary China.

Internet video sites will show parliamentary procedure from around the globe that uncannily resembles Professional Wrestling.  Please now consider how different opinions are reflected in terms of art and culture on government as well as government on culture and art.

Based upon my experience and understanding, I ask you the following:

What if others would see democracy through Soap Operas? Would you hear campaign promises belted out in a foreign language?

What if others would see democracy through Comedies? Would arguments be clever repartee or would slapstick motion prevail?

What if others would see democracy through Interpretative Dance? Urban jazz, Ballet, Soft-Shoe or Tap

What if others would see democracy through Musicals? Maybe a combination of song and dance?

What does it now look like to you?

After considering the above, I personally would have difficulty joining in on the drone of chant.  Instead images come to mind.  Imagine a subtle opening musical score.

Picture three or four overweight, out-of-shape politicians wearing large floppy shoes, purple tights and pink tutus sporting Viking helmets, holding shields singing Rodney Dangerfield’s jokes in falsetto voices.

Now, this is what democracy looks like to me.

This perspective also allows me to take an extra moment in order to think for myself before I join in.  My suggestion is that we shift from being ‘Politically Correct’ and with humor, strive to be ‘Correctly Political’.

* A Quick Note: Chanting is useful in terms of group-think.  This is an extremely useful tool for cult indoctrinations.

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