Sunday, October 7, 2007

Speaking of Democracy...

While reading the article Speaking of Democracy by Maud Schaafsma and Charlie Cray I was reminded of a documentary I was watching just the other night. This documentary, entitled The War on Democracy, discusses the changes that are taking place in countries such as Venezuela and the stance that America's leaders have taken against these changes. To explain, Hugo Chavez was democratically elected into office but many of the wealthier people were upset by his determination to spread the wealth coming in from the sale of oil. Hugo Chavez began refusing to sell the oil to countries such as the U.S. because he felt that the U.S. was taking advantage of "his people." Political leaders, including Colin Powell, and mainstream media began to speak out against Chavez and Venezuela, saying that Chavez was not a democratically-elected leader and that Venezuela was becoming just another Cuba. Watching this documentary made me realize that the U.S. is not really concerned about democracy at all. As far as I can tell, (and obviously I can't say I've been to Venezuela and seen for myself what the situation is) the people of Venezuela seem to love Chavez. Much more than I feel we as Americans love Bush. (That said, I am a liberal, so that has to be taken into consideration.) Our political advisers seem more concerned about oil prices and the fact that Hugo Chavez is going against the U.S. than whether or not Hugo Chavez is doing what is best for his country. The same goes for how they make decisions about what is going on within America. Often our government makes decisions based on how they will affect the large corporations and the wealthy, forgetting to take into consideration how their decisions will effect the larger population. I definitely agree with the article Speaking of Democracy with respect to the idea that we need to watch out for democracy. We have to be careful what rights we let the government take away, whose rights they are emphasizing and what information they are altering. The media isn't unbiased. At least not all of it. And we really have to be careful what information sources we put our trust in.

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