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Democracy’ means discussion of issues among people

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By John Bartlit

Discussion – earnest, thoughtful discussion – is the historic lifeblood of our democratic republic. A democracy differs from a dictatorship to the extent that policy evolves from discussion of issues among the people.
Abraham Lincoln built his most weighty speech on the basics of our country “of the people, by the people, for the people.” Then he famously resolved that it “shall not perish from the earth.”
Yet, the people are turning their backs on discussion of issues. Worst of all, the people now turn their backs most fiercely when the issue is the most important issue. Bit by bit, people forget that the nation’s lifeblood is discussing issues among the people.

This very point is the elephant in the room that we can’t talk about. The creeping loss of discussion is the gravest threat to democracy.

To begin with, today’s news and talk shows are less about issues than they are about “obstacles” to issues. An issue involves ideas for discussion from which a national policy could evolve. Obstacles to issues are personal traits that disqualify an idea by the bare mention of a person’s name or a trait.


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