Without Public Debate Democracy Crumbles

It sometimes feels as though our Democracy is broken, and I wonder if it is our own fault.

We have the right to know what our government does on our behalf, but we have become an apathetic citizenry, apparently not caring enough to speak up when we don’t like how politicians run the government or spend our tax dollars.

When was the last time you went to a City Council meeting, read a proposed piece of legislation or contacted an elected official to express your opinion about a bill you thought was a lousy idea? I’m betting it was either a long time ago – or never.

The mainstream public has been effectively cancelled by its own silence and much smaller groups of outspoken activists have stepped into the void. As a result, politicians (and “woke” corporations) bend to interest group’s desires even though it is clear their demands are not supported by the majority. Defund the police, keep the schools closed, refuse to prosecute for looting, arson or destruction of property, cancel undesirable people.

Apathy Allows Vocal Activists to Dictate the Country’s Direction

Activists hammer on issues and politicians react. What the majority wants ceases to matter. This is not the way a democracy is supposed to function.

Did you register opinions on allowing Sanctuary Cities, a prisoner’s right to vote, national health care or using government funds for abortion? Were you allowed input into President Biden’s Executive Order that suddenly halted drilling on federal lands and shut down construction of the XL pipeline erasing thousands of American jobs?

For years now we, the public, have been left out of the right to know what our elected officials are doing before they do it. Presidential orders and mysterious Congressional actions abound, initiated by both Republicans and Democrats.

I hadn’t really pondered how often Americans have given up their “right to know” until I was contacted recently by an Italian named Matteo Angioli, Secretary General the Global Committee for the Rule of Law. Angioli wanted to discuss one of my past columns in which I wrote, “We have entered a phase of politics where leading by partisan edict is becoming more frequent. No debate of issues, just politicians who feel emboldened to ram through their ideas.

Angioli photo: Twitter
Angioli, Sec. Gen, Global Committee for the Rule of Law.

Speaking via Zoom from his home near Florence, Italy Angioli told me he thought those two lines summed up “perfectly one of the biggest issues of our time.”

We had a fascinating conversation about his efforts to change things working with the Council of Europe, an international organization founded right after World War II and dedicated to upholding human rights, democracy and the rule of law. Matteo’s goal is tied to the Tromsø Convention, which calls for all European countries to increase government transparency, improve public access to official documents and politician’s decision-making processes and to restore citizen’s trust in government.

Wouldn’t it be great if our state and national governments followed the Tromsø Convention? While Americans can file Freedom of Information requests for government documents it is a cumbersome and arbitrary system. Yes, a few U.S. politicians still hold occasional Town Hall meetings, but open public debate forums should become the norm.

photo: Flickr free photos 
image by DonkeyHotey
Easy to Say, Harder to Achieve. Follow Through a Must

Matteo and I agreed civilians need to care about their “right to know” again. We have to find time in our hectic lives to get informed about where our country and our tax dollars are headed and if we don’t like it to voice our opposition. We need to fight our apathy so a sense of equality and justice can prevail.

The lynchpin in all this, of course, is a fair and impartial media. It is their job is to report what’s really important. Instead of concentrating on who-said-what-on-Twitter years ago media outlets need to return to truly informing the public about government activities.

Another trillion-dollar spending bill is already in the Congressional pipeline. I’d like to see a full accounting of where that money will go for before the bill passes.

Yes, American citizens have a right to know what our elected leaders are doing – every step of the way. But If we don’t make our desires known to the politicians those small groups of eager activists will continue to drive the national narrative. They will continue to erode our society.

Time to let politicians know what you want.




  1. Diane Dimond on March 22, 2021 at 8:34 am

    Thomas Zaleski writes:

    Failed citizenship is our root cause of pernicious government. We have the government that we have earned but not the government our children deserve.

  2. Diane Dimond on March 22, 2021 at 8:35 am

    Burning Sun writes:

    The Founding Fathers spilled their blood to have more say in their self-government. I have served in student government and in local government committees and no one showed up to attend our subcommittee meetings. The proposals we set forth were what people talked about and usually adopted. It’s a lot easier to change things at a (sub)committee level when no one else is speaking against your proposal. The issues are also frequently easier to understand. Ask regular people questions . Respectfully educate people. Then go to the meetings armed with information. Play the long game.

  3. Diane Dimond on March 22, 2021 at 8:35 am

    Cindy Merrill writes:

    We can’t debate- if we try, we’re called racists.

  4. Diane Dimond on March 22, 2021 at 8:36 am

    Carl Morris writes:

    Study “learned helplessness”. The public is being trained/gaslighted into feeling like no matter what they do they are wrong and will be punished, so they may as well give full control to someone else. Which of course was the plan all along.
    Mister Gato writes:
    Glad read, it is not a time to be silent. However- She says ‘I wonder if is our own fault’. Truth is it is the fault of the immoral, fake statesmen that should have been honest and trustworthy with the responsibility we entrust them with.
    It’s the politicians elected by the people in a republic to properly manage the affairs of government.
    And their failures are their fault first, and those that elect them, or cheat to get them elected.
    Ending with ‘it is time to let politicians know what you want’ is not enough.
    Because they know what we want. And too many of them are too corrupt with their own power and egos to care.
    We must keep speaking out respectfully.
    But the only way to be heard will be to take to streets peacefully (again) and show our resolve to change our course now deep into totalitarianism.

  5. Diane Dimond on March 22, 2021 at 8:36 am

    Texas Patriot Gal writes:

    I have been active in getting my voice heard for over 10 yrs – since the Tea Party began. I found that writing letters and calling their office will, at the very least, register my opinion and I always tell them that I am politically active. One of the best ways to get them to pay attention is to get involved locally. When was the last time you worked as a poll worker in an election? Or went to your county or state party convention? That is where you connect with others who also want to see change. I became active in the local Republican party and joined a group to attend smaller meetings where politicians come to speak. Sadly, in the major city in which I live, 30 – 40% of the precincts do not have a chairperson. At election time, that gives which ever party controls the county clerk or elections office the ability to appoint their own members to run the election and there is no one to see that it is done fairly. HOWEVER getting involved does work. It took several years, but we were able to get a Photo ID law passed which has helped cut down on cheating. I have also joined national groups which align with my politics so that we can increase the volume of our voices. Judicial Watch and Heritage Action are both impactful and well organized. Speaking to your friends and neighbors is also important. And volunteer for candidates you support. All of these things together add up our impact. It won’t change overnight or with one or 2 elections, but it will make your voice heard. We didn’t get into this mess in 1 or 2 cycles. It has been changing since the 60’s. It will take time and diligence to get it back on track, but the freedom in the United States of America is worth fighting for and we can make the changes necessary.

  6. Diane Dimond on March 22, 2021 at 8:37 am

    John Wayne writes:

    Democrats have a democracy its their democracy and no debate about it!
    They use the media to push their bad agenda onto the population like it or not

  7. Diane Dimond on March 22, 2021 at 8:37 am

    Sally Grave writes:

    I have tried to contact Pelosi to complain about her actions , but because I am not a resident of California, I cannot !

    • Diane Dimond on March 22, 2021 at 8:38 am

      Jehu Ben-Nimri replies to Sally:

      Another reason why Federalism is stupid. A politician making decisions that affect your State can’t be contacted just because they are theoretically representing another State?

  8. Diane Dimond on March 22, 2021 at 8:38 am

    Thomas Spencer writes:

    I agree whole heartedly. There is always a but…..I would tend to think that most of the people who read this agree and have like myself contacted their representatives and senators. With little or no response from them I know they do what they like. Most of the time I receive an email justifying their actions with the invisible middle finger hidden in the words. What then do you suggest we do when #1 they ignore us and #2 the majority of the population will not even read this let alone care. Things will need to start getting uncomfortable before the sheeple raise their heads from grazing.

  9. Diane Dimond on March 22, 2021 at 8:40 am

    Freedom First writes:

    Republicans must not continue to sit on their hands. Republicans must raise hell in Washington DC and demand transparency. They must demand accountable and consequences for all bad actors. Republicans must remain absolutely united on every issue. Republicans must push back on these lunatics running DC. Let our voices be heard loudly. We are in an age of heros. What’s it gonna be?

  10. Diane Dimond on March 22, 2021 at 8:40 am

    Robert Runkle writes:

    I must say I’m from Ohio and I’ve contacted my reps both state and federal on several occasions since the new administration took over. All have responded including the Democratic for whom I did not vote. Communication is an absolute must. Even if they ignore you, keep writing, calling, + emailing. Flood their offices with calls and mail. Our Republic needs our input desperately!

  11. Diane Dimond on March 22, 2021 at 8:41 am

    sarakarl writes:

    I email my US Senators frequently to encourage them, or at least make them aware that there are other points of view out there. I have not got a response in over a year, not even their form letters on the subjects. What I get is a standard COVID-19 letter response that we do not have any staff to respond. As far as they are concerned they have two jobs…get reelected then do whatever they want to do ignoring any polling results to the contrary.

  12. Diane Dimond on March 22, 2021 at 8:41 am

    Lgrace writes:

    Same here in NJ. I do get a response, but it is a canned, elitist political speech extolling the vapid virtues of the very thing I am writing against.

  13. Diane Dimond on March 22, 2021 at 8:42 am

    chris b writes

    We are permitting folks who are old and senile; sick and deranged in need of mental health intervention; while some who are wicked and vile to the core – to mold our society but we must all stand up and proclaim what is right and true. We’re going along with this fictitious fantasy when we need to be standing for truth. We can do it!

  14. Diane Dimond on March 22, 2021 at 8:42 am

    gregstocks2005 writes:

    This is an interesting article. Where we are ask to except responsibility for the behaviours of our government officials. So in response I will say: I have written multiple e-mails without one reply. I have written multiple letters without a response. I have sat in on multiple meetings as a visitor. Here is what I have learned. Our government officials both local and federal, are nothing more than echo chambers. They are busy listening to one another. They are involved in showing respect to those they consider their equals. They are not interested in either their constituents voices, or the voices of common people. So how do we fix this: drain the swamp! Is this because of complacency, of course. Because we elect those that are suppose to Shepherd this flock. So when the flock starts to fall apart, do you blame the flock or the shepherd? https://Trumpetsfortriump.com

  15. Diane Dimond on March 22, 2021 at 8:42 am

    April Hamann writes:

    True facts ppl! I have called my senators & governor’s offices so many times I have only got one email return for several years now. And that email was very generic. Saying that this was not the correct office and ty for contacting them. If I showed up on the capital steps to try to get to any of Illinois reps at all I’d be considered dangerous and taken to jail! So yes I’m guilty of letting it get to this and yes I’ve tried. But not even one of my state’s reps are in touch with reality!

  16. Diane Dimond on March 22, 2021 at 9:19 am

    Steve Robel writes:

    Hold them accountable while they are in office. Term limits is a must!

  17. Diane Dimond on March 22, 2021 at 2:25 pm

    Phyllis Kalbach writes:

    We still have a Democracy. We the people have to decide what kind of government we want. Do we want a government that works together, or do we want oligarchy?
    A democracy requires an educated populace. That means civics at a young age. It means work hard and pay attention.
    Fascism is easier. No one has to think. Everyone is told what to do and you had better do it.
    We’ve had a little brush with fascism for the past four years. Democracy won in the last election. However, the fascist are working hard to make sure they win next time and they will be stronger and crueler. Pay attention.

    • Diane Dimond on March 22, 2021 at 2:27 pm

      Diane replies to Phyllis:

      I will post your comment at my website where I archive all of my weekly columns, Phyllis. But I must disagree with your use of the term “fascism” and the last four years. >> http://www.dictionary.com/browse/fascismhttps://www.dictionary.com/browse/fascism
      Fascism is a system of government led by a dictator who typically rules by forcefully and often violently suppressing opposition and criticism, controlling all industry and commerce, and promoting nationalism and often racism. >> A.) We don’t have dictators here in the United States.
      B.) While I’m no big Trump supporter I didn’t see his administration “violently suppressing opposition and criticism.” Did he RESPOND to criticism? Oh, yeah…all the damn time. But when all those BLM/Antifa protests turned violent in various cities there was no crushing of the protestors and, in fact, the White House only responded with National Guard troops when requested. C.) Trump did not “control all industry and commerce.” He gave special tax breaks to industries that remained or came back to the US to provide American jobs. And finally, D.) While Trump was a big blowhard – especially during the campaign with comments like “Mexico doesn’t send us their best, they send rapists, drug dealers, etc. (my paraphrasing) he also provided the economic atmosphere for the best minority employment situation in decades.
      Taking your tact, Phyllis, some might argue that its pretty dictatorial for President Biden to start off his term with dozens and dozens of Executive Orders and Memos WITHOUT CONGRESSIONAL APPROVAL AND WITHOUT VOTER INPUT – which eliminated things like border controls, international treaties, the XL pipeline and federal land drilling (costing tens of thousands of jobs)
      Sorry, Phyllis, the term “fascism” just doesn’t fit either case in my opinion. I do, however, respect your right to believe the way you see fit. ~DD

  18. Maureen Langan on March 22, 2021 at 6:13 pm

    Spot on DD!

  19. Without Public Debate Democracy Crumbles - GCRL on March 23, 2021 at 10:16 am

    […] the original article on Diane Dimond’s […]

  20. Diane Dimond on March 23, 2021 at 3:22 pm

    Pat Kelley Wittorf writes:

    As far as the two things to do to regain the democracy (republic?) of my youth, I can honestly say that I have voted in every election for President and/or Congress since I have been old enough to vote which was, for me, 21. As for contacting my representatives, I do that with sufficient regularity that I have a mental image of their staff seeing my email address and muttering, “Not her again.”

  21. Diane Dimond on March 23, 2021 at 3:22 pm

    Cliff Darnell writes:

    It is a uncommon individual who’s pocket book can compete with big corporations lobbying. A citizens only strength is by development of a ” amplified ” block of voters . Tough to do when people live ck to ck , dumbed down , and family unit’s scattered around the states.

  22. Diane Dimond on March 29, 2021 at 1:47 pm

    William Hobbs writes:

    Abortion is legal and is never chosen by the victim. Why are we worrying about someone who has had a life deciding it is time to quit?

  23. Diane Dimond on April 5, 2021 at 9:39 am

    Sharon Rager writes:

    APATHY is the number one problem —– allowing many problems to slide by until they are unfixable. WE HAVE SO MUCH, even the most modest of Americans. Immigrants would rather be homeless in America than in any other country. Also it is a darn hard job ferreting out the real truth on any issue.

  24. Diane Dimond on April 5, 2021 at 9:41 am

    Elbert Householder writes:

    You should know me by now, I am among those few who truly are outspoken. I actually care about our Constitutional rights and the future of our country. I have often contacted elected officials, in fact the day before reading this write up ( 3/23/21 ) I contacted our governor Mike Dewine. Thing is, I have often wondered why I bother.
    The problem is, even though they are elected by us, pledge to serve us, and paid by our tax dollars they think of themselves as above us and do not care what we have to say.
    What’s more, Social Media is allowed to censor any thing they don’t like under an idiotic notion that they can’t be held to The Constitution because they are a private owned business. This censorship causes partisanship, interference in election.
    Sadly the brain dead, brain washed WOKE generation have bought into the idea that a big government controlling everything is the way to go. Those of us who still have a brain know that the Federal government screws up everything they ever get their hands on and never check with The U.S. Constitution before they make laws. In most normal cases if you make a vow to gain an office and break that vow it is treated like breaking a contract and you loose that office, every single office from police officer up to the U.S. president takes the vow to uphold The U.S. Constitution but this vow is never treated with the serious obligation it deserves.
    Now, two of the issues you listed as WOKE I would support, one is an issue of health and the other I can back up with The U.S. constitution. However by U.S. right absolutely no law should ever be counted as passed until the public has the chance to vote on it, but I’ve seen even laws voted down still added to the books. This is proxy to a miniature dictatorship and this has been allowed for many years.
    The only truly good answer is to completely do away with or at least extremely limit The Federal government back to what it was meant to be. Our founding fathers never meant for the Federal government to be so powerful, the greater power was to belong to the states with the Fed only there for military power and conflict between the states.
    The very name of our country ‘The United States’ even says as much, a uniting of states denoting the states as separate and equal powers. We learn far better of what works by states learning off of each other than one power forcing it’s will on all.
    I’m afraid the only way this will ever be fixed is through a second Civil War, Biden just might make this happen.

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