Shooting Yourself First in the Foot, then in the Head: Normative Democracy Is Suffocating, and then the Coronavirus Came to Light (Paul R. Carr)
This text starts with the premise that ‘normative democracy’ has rendered our societies vulnerable and burdened with unaddressed social inequalities. I highlight three central arguments: (1) Social media, and, consequently, citizen engagement are becoming a significant filter that can potentially re-imagine the political, economic, and social worlds, which increasingly bleed over to how we might develop and engage with ‘democracy’; to this end, I introduce a brief case study on the nefarious interpretation of the killing of Jamal Khashoggi in 2018 to underscore the tension points in normative democracy; (2) Capitalism, or neoliberalism, needs to be more fully exposed, interrogated, and confronted if ‘normative, representative, hegemonic, electoral democracy’ is to be re-considered, re-imagined, and re-invented; the perpetuation of social inequalities lays bare the frailty of normative democratic institutions; (3) Covid-19 has exposed the fault lines and fissures of normative democracy, illustrating here the ‘common sense’ ways that power imbalances are sustained, which leaves little room for social solidarity; I present herein the case of the economic/labor dynamic in Quebec during the coronavirus. Ultimately, I believe the quest to re-imagine a more meaningful, critically engaged democracy, especially during a context that is imbued with a political, economic, and public health crisis, cannot be delayed much longer.
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