The Democratic Wish: Where Are We Now?

It seems lately that our nation’s current norm is a clear unhappiness with the status quo. Pointing a finger at our leaders – the president, his cabinet, the legislature – is a common behavior, as we blame them for every societal ill we can imagine. But this is nothing new.

Our widespread unhappiness with the state of our country did not originate with the election of the most recent Congress, nor when Barack Obama was elected. For as long as most of us can remember, Americans have been complaining. Some even point to September 11th as the instigator of all of our problems, an event that recently marked its mournful ten-year anniversary.

So why is it that we have yet to do anything about it?

Morone does not lay out any sort of timeline in his “Democratic Wish;” he merely notes that the process begins (and ends) in a “political stalemate,” with “ideology, institutions, and interests” blocking a chance to make changes (9). We all agree that our country has gone far astray from the prestige we proudly claimed in past years, but this consensus is not enough. The “pressures for political reform” that Morone speaks of have been piling up heavily, weighing on our leaders (10). However, our government is heavily split on the direction it wishes to take in order to remedy our troubles. Each failed or thwarted attempt to rectify our current state is disheartening to American individuals, whether or not they supported the proposed legislation.

So this is phase one: trapped between political pressures and interests, as blame is thrown around and political efficacy plummets. However, people are not uniting in opposition to the status quo; rather, there are groups breaking away from the status quo in extreme opposition, that are too polarized to unite everyone. Thus, I wonder if Morone’s democratic wish is applicable in our society anymore. In my opinion, in order to propel our society ahead to the second stage, we need to restore the public’s sense of political efficacy.

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One Response to The Democratic Wish: Where Are We Now?

  1. nmajie says:

    I agree with your perspective and also wonder if Morone’s democratic wish can still be applied in our society and political institutions today. In my opinion, I am beginning to believe that the democratic wish is much too idealistic and therefore relatively difficult to be achieved in our current-day political system. I agree that we are currently at the first step in the process of this cycle because we are at a stalemate and feel very distanced from our government representatives. It is difficult, however, for me to imagine the people uniting and coming together as one unified force. I see people “out of doors” but not as a communal force; instead, there are a plethora of forces. This separation that exists between the people will make it very difficult to change the status quo. Maybe our government has grown so large and our society has evolved so much that the second step of Morone’s democratic wish is no longer existent and can no longer be achieved..? As Morone writes, “…the call to community and collectivism remains a perpetual alternative, a reformist counterideology–always elusive, always beckoning” (Morone 73). If this is true, how has our government and society modified the second step of the democratic wish over the years?

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