Are the citizens of a nation always right? Today as I followed the news that question came to mind, again.
Two examples in two different countries point to a larger issue that I think should be thought about.
In the United States President Obama and the Democrats in congress urged the public to understand that the health care component to the larger economy was in dire need of repair. A plan was fashioned, voted on, and signed into law. A loud segment of the nation found the law unsupportable and are striking back in the mid-term elections.
Meanwhile in France a seventh day of strikes and clashes are taking place. The problem has grown to such an extent that France has begun importing electricity as the wave of strikes against pension reforms takes hold of energy supplies.
The news is so bad that President Sarkozy warned that the economy and jobs could be hit if the disruption did not end quickly.
I think these two issues should make us think a bit.
Here in America the Democrats have often been labeled as elitist and out of touch. ‘How dare they preach to us, or try to ram their national policies down our throats’ is the common type of refrain often heard on the campaigns trail from those who are upset.
But is it not the role of leaders to outline a problem facing the nation and then find ways to remedy it? Does fulfilling the role of leadership make Obama and the Democrats ‘elitist’ for thinking about a matter and acting? Is Sarkozy ‘elitist’ for taking a stand on pension reform and thinking France needs to have a higher retirement age?
Given the populist wave in America against those who are educated, study the issues, and work to find remedies then should I assume the Tea Party would be on the side of the protestors who are angry at Sarkozy? And if not, why not? Are the citizens of France not fighting the ‘elitist’ attitudes of government too?
Or is the Tea Party only opposed to smart people living within their own country?
The idea that smart people are to be shunned from office, and only those who somehow yell loud enough are worthy of election is a frightful thing. To be called elitist because one actually cares enough to read, study, and care about an issue is a really horrible way to frame an election.
It would also be a dreadful way to run America should they win in numbers large enough to matter.