Nowhere in the United States Constitution or the in the Declaration of Independence is the word “democracy” mentioned. However, I grew up thinking that we lived in a democracy. Didn’t you? Seems that we were misled.

A democracy is one where ordinary citizens come together to decide matters important to them. New England, including Windham, tries to carry on this tradition, but most people prefer to watch a baseball or football game, go fishing or just stay at home. Now I know that we have a representative democracy. That is why we have our Hon. Chellie Pingree, Susan Collins and Angus King in Washington to represent our needs and wants. (I’m not including Bruce Poliquin in this list for personal reasons.)

It turns out that true democracy doesn’t always work very well.

A recent example is the referendum vote for England to withdraw from the European Union. Garrison Keillor calls the vote, “a big shot in the foot.” James Madison expressed this attitude in the Federalist papers: “… instability, injustice, and confusion … have in truth been the mortal disease under which popular governments everywhere perished … ”

The English Parliament is comprised of both elected and appointed members. Members of the House of Commons are elected by a vote of the people. The upper chamber, the House of Lords, is appointed by the Queen of England on the advice of the Prime Minister. The Guardian newspaper reports, “Indeed, given a free vote, the unelected Lords would probably reject Brexit by a margin of six to one.”

Major difficulties face England and the European Union – indeed, the world feels unsettled and threatened by this decision of the people of England. According to a recent national attitude survey, “Austerity, class divides, and the death of social mobility were in large part behind the UK’s decision to vote ‘Leave’ in the Brexit referendum.” Of course, the issue of immigration is in the mix.

Even before the United States is affected by the waves of immigrants from the Middle East, we already suffer from the great divide between wealth and poverty. Harvard Professor Lawrence Katz, says, “The most damaging aspects of the gap between the top 1 percent of Americans and everyone else involve the increasing economic and political power that the very rich wield over society, along with a growing educational divide and escalating social segregation in which the elites live in literal and figurative gated communities.”

We would be wise to begin to get our “house in order” in preparation for what may be in our immediate future. We cannot continue to live as if unconscious of Europe being in the throes of disharmony. As I have said before, and will continue to say, “We are all peoples of this one world.”

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