Democracy Derailed

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Democracy Derailed looks at the initiative process, the effects of that process and asked the question, "Is this a good way to make public policy?" I feel that even though the process is not perfect it is a great way to allow the average citizen more power in policy making.

The History

Democracy Derailed begins with addressing the evolution of the initiative process. During the first twenty years in Plymouth Colonies, all adult men met to consider legislation. In 1715, Massachusetts had to address anything that was supported by ten citizens. By 1788, Massachusetts began conducting referendums, and by the 1850's, referendums had become an acceptable practice. By the end of the 1800's, direct legislation in states had become popular.

As stated in Democracy Derailed, "during the last quarter of the century, the coincidence of two economic factors produced a political reaction with historic consequences. The first economic force was the Industrial Revolution, when the ma and pop stores were replaced with business giants. John D. Rockefeller and J.P. Morgan became "rulers" of the industry and exploited their employees. Employees had no freedom to protest these rulers, so out of frustration; they formed unions, like the Labor of Knights in 1869.

The second economic force related to American farmers. Around the same time as the employees' struggles, the farmers were suffering from prices declining and unprofitable and unfortunate weather. Droughts, unsympathetic banks and the Financial Panic of 1884 destroyed farmers' markets and many became broke.

The struggling workers and the suffering farmers merged together to protest the tight grasp that corporate power had on them. The economic forces that mer...

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...ose that I personally believe to be the biggest problem is that citizens abuse this process even more by standing by and allowing others to form their own opinion for them.

Americans wanted power back into the hands of the people and we were granted that privilege. I believe, a great and wonderful privilege even with all of its downfalls. If Americans want to be left in the dark on an issue and allow advertisements to make up their minds, so be it: that's their prerogative. True, society loses, but hopefully, citizens will wake up and realize that with privilege, comes responsibility. It's out decision how we handle that responsibility, if we handle it at all. So, for those who complain that the public has been duped by big corporations that are self-serving, point the finger elsewhere. You may find that you're pointing the finger in your own direction.

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