Disregard for political elements endangers western democracy

Republican Presidential hopeful U.S. Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) speaks during a town hall meeting at the University of Maryland on March 28, 2012 in College Park, Maryland. (Photo by T.J. Kirkpatrick/Getty Images)

In recent news of the presidential election in France, Marine Le Pen railed against Nikolas Sarkozy, UMP, and Francois Hollande of the Socialist Party for denigrating voters supporting the Front National, her party.  The two leading candidates alluded that those voting for the Front National were extremists and were not to be heeded.  Le Pen refuses to admit that those who vote mainstream are somehow more intelligent or aristocratic in their thinking and that those who vote for “extreme” parties are somehow voting out of vengeance or “like animals,” as she was quoted to say. 

This type of intellectual marginalization of extremes has taken root in recent elections and does not support liberal democracy.  Citizens cannot vote their conscious if they are informed by political candidates, and a media that caters to them, that their sentiments, intuitions and voting habits are somehow wrong. 

A system that only allows votes in the middle to be deemed appropriate will either develop a mirrored system wherein only two parties vie against each other by sharing shades of the same rhetoric, or will develop into a polarized system that increases the chances of political deadlock.  Either simplification of potential for political possibilities will lead to a cannibalization of democracy for the nation and the eventual destruction of democratic ideals. 

We face these same issues in election policy in the United States.  Candidates Barack Obama and Mitt Romney have handily taken the popular vote by their mainstream views, which are hardly different in their long term implementation, and their vast funding apparatuses.  “Extreme” candidates such as Ron Paul, who have equally valid, if not palatable concepts to present, are marginalized by deleterious comments, and the meager attention paid to their success in debates and polls. 

France's far-right National Front President, Marine Le Pen delivers a speech during the party's annual celebration of Joan of Arc on May 1, 2011 in Paris, France. (Photo by Franck Prevel/Getty Images)

An article recently published in The New York Times was dedicated to New Gingrich’s departure and Mitt Romney’s domination of the Republican bid for candidacy.  Therein Paul was mentioned only in passing though the article clearly stated he is the only other candidate “left in the race”.  A third option, whether a viable candidate for the Presidency or not, treated so offhandedly in the media, stands no chance of election if he cannot amount the press coverage that a former candidate receives.

As developed nations we should not allow our electoral battles to be settled between left and right.  The question here is not whether Paul can or should win any election, but whether a third or “extreme” candidate would not allow more clarity into the national democratic discussion.  Political parties and their media actively split voters along imaginary ideological lines and candidates prefer the red-blue divide (See: The Rural Urban Divide) as a simple way of counting voters “in” or “out.”  Democracy in a developed nation should not be so oversimplified, however, and ideas, not candidates should receive their due. 

Unfortunately, negative attacks are the nature of 21st century politics.  This too can be rectified through right action and strong displays of appropriate social behavior on the stump.  Much needed further reaching electoral financial reform is also required.  Most importantly, it is the responsibility of political leaders to treat each other with respect, and above all, to treat the views of their voters with deserved interest. 

As beacons for democracy in a darkening political world, western candidates and media alike, must pay heed to all cries  for representation in political discussion.  If they do not, western liberal democracy is only for show. 

Former Republican presidential candidate, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich speaks to students at Thomas Jefferson Classical Academy on April 25, 2012 in Mooresboro, North Carolina. Gingrich vowed to stay in the race until Mitt Romney, the presumptive nominee, reaches the 1,144 delegates needed to secure the nomination. (Photo by John W. Adkisson/Getty Images)

About the author

Profile photo of admin
up up up

Leave a Comment

Powered by WordPress | Deadline Theme : An AWESEM design

Skip to toolbar