Eating on our lobotomized democracy

Political spins are evidence that we have let our Great American Democracy atrophy.

Remember the scene in “Hannibal” where Dr. Lecter visibly has lobotomized Paul Krendler sitting at a dinner table, unknowingly feasting on his own brain? Besides being disgusting, it illustrates the very real possibility that man can be completely unaware of his destruction.

In the midst of presidential vetoes, war fronts in Afghanistan and Iraq blatantly described as “disastrous quandaries,” and midterm elections nearing, America seems to be in some kind of coma. We’ve lost our great democracy – that one we did countless worksheets on for social studies classes.

While all the world’s front pages bravely run headlines of failing U.S. policies and diverse perspectives of the wars in which we’re engaged, there is hardly any discussion in any of our major newspapers or channels questioning, for instance, how our Congress unanimously voiced support for Israel’s actions without any kind of deliberation. Even Israel’s daily newspaper, Ha’aretz, has openly questioned whether its nation’s actions are defensible. There was no thought to whether American people are being represented in the United States’ response. Representation – isn’t that the whole basis of our government?

Whereas the press was intended to serve as the unwritten component in our system of checks and balances, the corporations that it was supposed to check now largely own it. They’ve become the filter, while we’ve become the lobotomized. The rift between the American citizenry and those it elects has grown with every crisis. With all branches pushing the same agenda, the opinion of the citizen is mostly irrelevant.

Our government, rumored to play “negotiator in the Middle East peace process,” continues to delay initiating a cease-fire. America must ask, “Should this be done in our name? Does this reflect the democracy we wish to share with the world?” And if ethics has no appeal, “Should my taxes be used to militarily fund this ‘delay’ of saving innocent civilians in other countries while victims of Hurricane Katrina are still amid crisis?”

Deafening political platitudes and spins answering our appeals continue to be evidence that we have let our Great American Democracy atrophy. “For the land of the free, and the home of the brave,” if not for the economy, the American democracy must be reclaimed by the people.

Samira Choudhury is a University student. Please send comments to [email protected]