Calamity Jane, Calamity John

I am optimistic. The world faces many problems, but they will be resolved. All it takes is public awareness, and the raising of public consciousness, and change will follow. I am convinced.

One often mistakes democracy for a one in 3 or 4 year vote. It is not. It is a process that takes place each day. In the media (between large interest groups), on the street (between individuals) and in the mind (of oneself). Democracy is a constant debate.

Opinion polls can drive change in the level of government. It takes time. And persuasion. That this is the right path for our society to go. Witness climate change. Al Gore could possibly have more influence in his current role than the one he really wanted. Cometh the time.

There are big issues (like water, nuclear, oil, aids) and they do take effort to tackle. Some hard thinking, weighing of evidence, a holistic view, a long term approach. In the end, it’s a legacy we leave for future generations.

Let’s make wise choices.


6 Responses to “Calamity Jane, Calamity John”

  1. SilverTiger Says:

    I am glad you are optimistic. I am not, though I would rather be. As we are talking about the future, it is all speculation and we can only wait and see. Some will wait hopefully, some despairingly.

    Democracy? In the West, we are governed by a political class. Elections merely decide which group within this class gains temporary power. Western governments continually talk about “democracy” but carefully insulate themselves from its consequences.

    Public opinion? I am sceptical as to whether public opinion counts for much except around election time. In any case, is there any such thing as public opinion? Not really: there are groups and individuals shouting the odds but nothing so organized and coherent as a “public opinion”. Somehow, a government has to steer a path through this storm of conflicting opinions without giving in to the temptation to use it for its own ends. There may one day be one that succeeds.

    Governments will of course react to the threat of global warming. This will happen when they suddenly realize that their own lives and comfort are on the line. The real question is “Will they react adequately and in time?” Ay, there’s the rub…


  2. newhoosier Says:

    GGW, the keys in your post: effort, hard thinking, weighing of evidence and above all else a long term approach.

    People want immediate gratification. We live in a very hedonistic society. People take immediate satisfaction before anything else. Long term does not work because Americans cannot focus on doing right now to achieve good later.

    As evidence, I’ll use the global warming/Al Gore scenario. How many adult Americans are aware of potential problems associated with climate change? 10%? 25%? 50%?

    Now, how many people drive electric-hybrid or flex fuel vehicles (and actually use flex fuel, because less than 1% actually do)? Now, how many still drive a car, SUV, or truck that gets less than 20mpg?

    How many people have changed the bulk of their household lightbulbs from incandescent to compact flourescent? Or drink bottled water, which costs more in water to produce than the bottle actually carries–not to mention the fossil fuels used in making the plastic and transporting it?

    GGW, you are 100% right about democracy and what it takes to succeed. But like SilverTiger said, I’m not as optimistic as you.

  3. tobeme Says:

    Interesting thoughts. You are right the power to forge a positive futre lies within us as a whole.

    BTW- The United States is not a true democracy, it is a representive republic at best. The forefathers thought the citizens of the U.S. to be to ignorant to be able to live in a true democracy.

  4. Jon Says:

    “The forefathers thought the citizens of the U.S. to be to ignorant to be able to live in a true democracy.”

    I often hear this, and I wonder if it’s true. I’ve never read anything by the founding fathers to suggest it. (In fact, Ben Franklin makes much adieu about the “good” of the common man).

    The probable reason has to do with federalism versus states rights versus individual rights. Ben Franklin famously wrote, “Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote!” They were really afraid of mobocracy, which has nothing to do per se with ignorance. They were concerned with the rights of minorities (and here minorities means ethnically European minorities, not blacks, unfortunately). Consider that these men were well-schooled in the philosophies of antiquity, being products of the Enlightenment. They knew why Grecian and Roman democracies failed.

  5. rjlight Says:

    Is it optimism or pessimism that encourages change or changes us? What is it that inspires us to move forward?

  6. matt Says:

    The aftermarth of WWII was the last time believe it or not that much changed for the better. The chaos of the war forced changes such as women having to work in the arms factories. Once the war finished women protested that they didn’t want to return to the kitchen sink! And so the 2nd long path to feminist emancipation was born. The first beginning around the 1900s with the suffragetes. There are many other examples.

    Chaos enforces change. Well, that’s one theory!!

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