May 25, 2009

Public opinion - once in 5 yrs?

As we are fresh from elections, again I turn to the same topic. Here is an interesting bit I found from an article by Noam Chomsky. Chomsky is known for his propaganda theories and plays the cynic quite a few times. That can be good at times as it makes us think about the world we are in, and whether do we actually follow our own mind? Read on...

Can a Democrat change US Middle East policy?
Noam Chomsky
Khaleej Times, April 3, 2008

Recently, when Vice-President Cheney was asked by ABC News correspondent Martha Raddatz about polls showing that an overwhelming majority of US citizens oppose the war in Iraq, he replied, "So?"

"So -- you don't care what the American people think?" Raddatz asked.

"No," Cheney replied, and explained, "I think you cannot be blown off course by the fluctuations in public opinion polls."

Later, White House spokeswoman Dana Perino, explaining Cheney's comments, was asked whether the public should have "input."

Her reply: "You had your input. The American people have input every four years, and that's the way our system is set up."

That's correct. Every four years the American people can choose between candidates whose views they reject, and then they should shut up.

Evidently failing to understand democratic theory, the public strongly disagrees.

"Eighty-one per cent say when making 'an important decision' government leaders 'should pay attention to public opinion polls because this will help them get a sense of the public's views,"' reports the Program on International Policy Attitudes, in Washington.

And when asked "whether they think that 'elections are the only time when the views of the people should have influence, or that also between elections leaders should consider the views of the people as they make decisions,' an extraordinary 94 per cent say that government leaders should pay attention to the views of the public between elections."

The same polls reveal that the public has few illusions about how their wishes are heeded: 80 per cent "say that this country is run by a few big interests looking out for themselves," not "for the benefit of all the people."

So I ask, do OUR opinions count? More importantly, how many times do we care to voice it?

1 comment:

Archana said...

good point haem. the bjp learnt the importance of public opinion between elections and i hope the congress fixes all the stuff it messed up in the last term. ppl were so anti the reservations policy and the farmer suicides. im hoping for a miracle.