Democracy is Beautiful (Not Messy)
- "We all know that Democracy is messy and inefficient and slow and frustrating, but it has worked better than any other political system" in 2009
- "Democracy is messy and freedom of speech and assembly are not just exercised when it is convenient" in 2015
Now, before I get misquoted/misunderstood, I think preparing folks for some "messiness" is a good thing. By this I mean conflict/contentious politics/disagreement/discussion/back and forth. It is better to prompt reasonable expectations about what could take place. I'm thinking we need to get Schoolhouse Rock! back together to create some video for it (can you see it: "Protest is the Magic Action", "Ready or Not, Here WE Come" and "I'm Just an Indictment"). This said, we must be leery of the population that would be put off (or on) by such rhetoric.
As discussed in my Domestic Democratic Peace book, political repression (i.e., restrictions on civil liberties like limitations on speech/association as well as personal integrity violations like arrest/torture) is generally diminished by political democracy UNLESS there is some threat in the relevant nation-state. Under these circumstances, repressive behavior is likely to go up in part because the citizens are not believed to object to such a thing. In fact, they are likely to support it. Invoking the "messiness" of democracy, I would argue, plays to this phenomenon and should therefore be used carefully if at all.
Actually, I would suggest that democracy is not messy. It is beautiful. For example, many tend to think of America under President Trump as some hierarchically structured system where the different parts of the political system line up underneath the President (this is symbolized by the 5 gold christmas balls below - who doesn't love christmas, right?).
Of course, the executive in the example might try again and another part of the democracy might yet again step up but this is when/where the other balls can start responding.