A Politician’s Death: Can There Be Political Disagreement, Civility, And Respect At The End Of The Day?
The death of US Senator John McCain has become a magnet for political gossip as well as serious political discussion. Not only was John McCain a media darling and a giant in the political world, who garnered bipartisan respect from Republicans and Democrats alike, he had a temper and never shied away from telling the targets of his rage how he felt about them. For that reason, Senator McCain did not invite sitting US President Donald Trump to his funeral. McCain had his grudges against former President Barack Obama and President George W. Bush, both whom McCain competed against for the Presidency, but Trump had openly mocked the Senator, who was tortured as a Vietnam POW. Worse yet, Donald Trump’s controversial and dysfunctional ways have made him an affront to the political system John McCain had served for decades. As part of an effort to send a powerful rebuke, the Senator invited both Obama and Bush to speak at his funeral. McCain open and fiercely disagreed with his political rivals and allies. At the end of the day, however, he was always wiling to work with them to make America great, unlike Trump and his supporters.
Congressional Hearings Target Tech Firms: Establishing Freedom of Online Expression and A Reasonable Right To Privacy
Social media and other major tech firms like Facebook, Twitter, and Google have become a target of US officials due to their vast influence over public opinion. While US President Donald Trump, as well as his Conservative cohorts, have lashed out against the likes of Google for allegedly favoring the Left, tech firms have become a focal point for Congressional hearings largely due to the Russian election hacking scandal. What major tech firms have done to curb the undue influence of foreign entities on US public opinion and how they plan to stem the influence of misinformation are important questions that go beyond the political motivations of Congressional hearings. The undue influence of all entities on public opinion and government officials must be addressed. The question for social media firms is how to ensure an open and trustworthy platform that is free of both censorship and deceptive information. As such, public officials should refocus their attention on the broader goal of protecting internet users and their reasonable right to privacy by empowering them.
Consent has emerged as a powerful buzzword in recent years. With movements like the #MeToo social media campaign against sexual harassment and assault in full swing, the push for a culture of consent is growing. Although the need for explicit consent is often associated with sexual relationships and interactions, consent is important in all aspects of life. The rise of “big data” and social media, for example, have exasperated the hazards of ignoring privacy rights, thus the subjects of social media content and the users of social media platforms need to be ask for consent on a continual basis and regularly provide consent. Unfortunately, consent can be a tricky proposition. Consent is only meaningful when those consenting fully understand the implications of giving their consent and the consequences of not consenting are not so problematic that they lead to coerced consent.
Democracy in its purest form can amount to nothing more than “mob rule.” It is why functional democratic governments and societies must be limited democracies with structures, such as that of a republic, that afford their citizens representation. Under mob rule, reasonable people willing to compromise with each other quickly succumb to their emotional impulses as divisions between subcultures compel individuals to parrot the “group think” of the like-minded. When caught in the fervor of political transitions and civil unrest, towing the line and staying in the good graces of one’s group becomes a top priority of almost everyone. Even the most reasonable dissent is not permitted from within one’s own faction, including among anti-establishment, revolutionary factions. Unfortunately, mob rule is the greatest threat from within to functional democracies of all forms. It is mob rule that rips democracies apart and it is mob rule that allows those who seek power for their own self-serving purposes to corrupt democracies.
The Chinese Communist Party is attempting to sell its governing philosophy as a superior alternative to those of dysfunction-plagued Western democracies. Although China has drifted away from an actual communist state and toward something resembling a plutocracy as it has pursued economic development since the 1970s, the philosophical guidance of Deng Xiaoping suggests China is simply progressing in its efforts to build a self-sustaining socialist state via the mechanisms of capitalism. Following the example of the US and its Twentieth Century efforts to secure democracy, Beijing wants to spread socialism and communism to the world in order to make the world safe for communism. The Cold War has, however, tainted communism and socialism in the minds of generations. The Communist Party is, therefore, rebranding its “multiparty cooperation” governing philosophy as China’s “new type of party system” in order to cultivate like-minded governments and allies around the world.
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