Archive for June, 2021

Lesson 596 Who Wants A Dictatorship?

Almost no-one, BUT...

Most potential autocrats were first elected because of citizen dissatisfaction with government… or as the result of a carefully controlled election.

Dismayed citizens usually respond supportively to sincere-sounding promises for a more prosperous life.

Once in office, potential autocrats quickly demonstrate obvious lifelong “self-serving” behaviors.

They weaken, and sometimes even completely dismantle, government and nongovernment institutions… including the courts.

Some supporters, and especially close associates, see advantages for themselves and become loyalists.

Others climb onboard with conspiracy ideas, cultist inclinations, and personal control goals of their own.

Apathetic and exhausted citizens decide to accept the situation… rationalizing that their private lives are not likely to change that much.

If elected again, or if an orchestrated coup is successful, driven autocrats inevitably become dictators. As a result, anything resembling a democracy is then totally lost. Sadly, America seems to be drifting in that direction.

Read Full Post »

Lesson 595 What Happened to Journalism?

In our polarized and lies-infested world, journalism should return to a focus on finding facts and providing context.

Reporters should see news conferences as opportunities to give readers, viewers and listeners the context they need to understanding the situation… not simply to find a headline.

TV organizations should return to focusing on the news. Commercial temptations are causing producers to celebrate celebrity and celebrities, create endless commercial breaks, shorten too many important stories, and increase the overall speed of everything. Morning and evening news programs have become exhausting for everyone.

Too many newscasts now rely on dramatically edited crime, shootings, extremist statements, and crisis headlines to grab an audience and hold it well into the program. Competition is usually what drives these decisions.

Journalists must become less worried about career and commercial success… and more broadly about democracy and what saving one requires of them.

Read Full Post »

Lesson 594 Clarifying National Identity

National identities are replacing political ideologies around the world.

Beware… extreme nationalism elsewhere has led to autocracy and dictatorships.

Then, conspiracies and lies overtake truth and facts.

Freedom of speech is lost, and a free press becomes the designated enemy.

And in our country, white people and party extremists are already beginning to fear a loss of control.

But most important right now is simply for our President to clarify “what it truly means to be an American.” More than anything this is what the world needs from us… and what it will take to save our democracy.

Read Full Post »

Lesson 593 A NEW Diplomacy

I have written many times about the role mayors and city managers of major cities were playing in international relationship-building. But I never heard the term “subnational diplomacy” until I watched a Brookings Institution webinar on the topic.

Featured was the mayor of Dallas, Texas. His role was to champion “new initiatives” cities are taking to develop international relationships. Called “subnational diplomacy,” he and other city leaders are seeking to increase support from the state department in Washington.

The Dallas mayor, and his top level advisory group, see clear economic and other advantages resulting from better international relationships. He and other webinar participating mayors refer to the large number of businesses in their areas with expanding international interests. They talked about international interests and activities going on at local schools, universities, arts organizations, and nonprofits. They point out that such coordination could very well result in more young people seeking international careers… possibly even becoming American diplomats.

What is seen as new, is often something old, but revitalized with new passion and leadership. World Affairs Councils in Dallas and other cities have been involving their international businesses, university experts, and many other groups in their international activities. Since the 1950’s Sister City organizations all over the U.S. have been building international relationships between cities around the world. And some large city mayors and leaders are also seen as experts in international terrorism, because the seeds of anarchy have been sown in their neighborhoods, and these cities are where the violence has occurred.

I agree that it often takes a new slogan and new passions to modernize familiar practices. So I will support “subnational diplomacy” wherever it is happening… even though the term is not very inspiring! After all, the more people and groups involved in international relationship-building the better! And saving our democracy needs this right now.

Read Full Post »