Be Inspired: Democracy vs. Tyranny

 

Democracy can be considered the fairest but most difficult political system. There is nothing more challenging than team work, listening to one another and providing the same value and weight to everyone’s opinion to form a solution every contributor can agree with. Teamwork is taught in schools starting from a very young age because of its importance and difficulty. A democracy is teamwork times a million.

Humans, as we know them now, have walked the face of the earth for approximately 200.000 years. But thus far we have yet to master the skill of peaceful coexistence. We have mastered and discovered numerous skills but living together in peace and accepting one another as unique as well as equal proves to be our biggest challenge. With teamwork and coexistence being essential to construct the pillars of democracy it shows just how challenging it is to create and maintain a successful democracy. Yet it is, in my opinion, the only political form that at least gives us a chance of creating equal appreciation and opportunities for all.

Through modern-day technology, the world seems to become smaller and smaller but at the same time, we seem unable to comprehend a borderless world without labels. We are under the impression that these labels and borders create clarity. At the same time, these labels and borders create difficulties when it comes to recognizing that each opinion and value has to carry the same weight in order to create an effective democracy.

Although labels can be useful to help us comprehend the complexity of life as a whole, they also form a challenge. As soon as we put a label on something or someone it will affect our perception. In a way, labels are formed by stereotypes but they also feed them. For example, when someone has been labeled a criminal it proofs to be very difficult to ever get rid of the ideas attached to this label. The person in question will most likely spend the rest of his/her days proving to others that this label does not necessarily equal untrustworthiness or danger. The same goes for other labels considering race, religion, sexuality, gender and so on.

ambiguousracepics

Jennifer Eberhardt, a social psychologist at Stanford, and her colleagues showed white college students a picture of a man who was racially ambiguous–he could have plausibly fallen into the “white” category or the “black” category. For half the students, the face was described as belonging to a white man, and for the other half, it was described as belonging to a black man. In one task, the experimenter asked the students to spend four minutes drawing the face as it sat on the screen in front of them. Although all the students were looking at the same face, those who tended to believe that race is an entrenched human characteristic drew faces that matched the stereotype associated with the label (see a sample below). The racial labels formed a lens through with the students saw the man, and they were incapable of perceiving him independently of that label. Alter, A. (2010). Why It’s Dangerous to Label People. Psychology Today.

In order for a democracy to be successful, a well-informed society is needed. If all opinions (and votes) are equally valuable they need to be equally educated. Of course, that’s easier said than done but when we strive for democracy we are obligated to at least inform ourselves before voting. Not to mention to show restraint when it comes to presenting poorly informed messages on social media as facts.

Social media has become one of our main sources of information. It is quick, easy and it gives us the opportunity to share our thoughts and opinions with the click of a button. But we seem to treat it with the same value as the older, but still existing, source of information; investigative journalism. Let us not forget that when a politician (or other influencers) presents a statement on social media this does not necessarily equal truth. More likely, it presents an opinion in the form of truth in order to serve a hidden agenda. Remember to give some thought as to why this person is sharing this. What is he/she trying to accomplish? Or in other words, which label is presented for you to share in order for this person to get what he/she wants.

Social media are a great way to communicate, to shrink the distance between the commanders in chief and people in general and therefore a great tool of democracy. But when poorly used it is also the easiest way to share propaganda and false information providing tyrants with the means to organize the masses.

Labels can be a dangerous thing so think before you share.

2 responses to “Be Inspired: Democracy vs. Tyranny

  1. Pingback: New Post :) I hope… | Blogger's World!·

  2. Interesting topic. Presentations of news can be just as problematic as social media. Seems moreso lately that democratic tyranny and tyrannical democracies are having a field day. I wonder what ‘democracy’ even means – the UK declares itself as democratic but it hardly seems so in reality and it doesn’t equate with fairness or justice in ways similar to those accusations we hear or see levied at other nations. Ok, we get a right to vote, or not. It makes little difference when ‘spin doctors’ drive the political wheel and steer social change to suit their own agendas. Social media feeds move so fast its easy to hit share and rush on to the next attention-grabbing distraction. Anyway, enjoyed reading your post. Cheers.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s