Western democracy has lost it’s way
Some personal thoughts about our generation’s responsibility
By: Amid Mittelman
When I first heard of „Politik und Gesellschaft“, I was studying in Canada as part of a students’ exchange program, and planning to write a piece about the experience of being a guest student. Time has past and I’ve returned home to Israel. Not very surprisingly, Israel swept into another round of elections and the clarity of mind, that tends to characterize long trips, disappeared. If it had only disappeared, it would have been like normal. The problem is that the clarity of mind got lost so quickly in a chaotic mix of political discussions about patriotism. I have decided that, if I am to write one thing, that will be printed and read in Germany, it needs to be about this dissonance.
People want to live freely and safely. So much I have learned in my life beyond any doubt. We live our lives in numerous ways and we shouldn’t judge the ways people choose. But if it comes to discussing political systems and if we’re talking about a democratic system in particular, one way that needs to be chosen is elections. It wouldn’t be unreasonable to assume that the vast majority of people sees elections as a way to help us reach our goal of a free and safe life.
“The system we have created, doesn’t fulfill its purpose.”
I watch YouTube videos produced by political parties, I see their signs in the streets, I read newspaper articles – and I come to the conclusion that western democracy doesn’t deal with us, nor does it deal with our daily problems. The system we have created, doesn’t fulfill its purpose. The same goes for our economic system, which we tend to describe as capitalism. Overwhelming gaps in wealth distribution have proven its malfunctioning over and over again.
Those two systems, which we fight for, that define every aspect of our lives, don’t serve us well enough. I don’t have sufficient historic knowledge to say if one of them ever did, perhaps no one has. I don’t have the theoretical knowledge to point out an alternative way that would serve us better. But I do know the most important mission of our generation: it is up to us to point out the problem and start thinking of a solution.
We are by far the most educated and privileged generation that has ever lived. In Europe, North America, Japan, Australia, and many more places, none of our vital needs lacks satisfaction. History has taught us that necessity is the mother of invention. The first step is to state the problem and we are ready to do so. We need a new system. The 99% movement, protesters in Spain, Turkey and Brazil, voters in Greece, all have shown to us that we are ready to put a name on our problem. Modern revolutionaries in Ukraine, Georgia, Egypt, Tunisia and Libya showed us we needn’t have fear.
It is up to the young and educated people of the western world to come up with the next big thing. It will not be easy and it might take long, but we don’t have the right to neglect this historic duty.