Al Gore has won the Nobel Prize for his work on the environment. While I applaud everything he has done and I see him as an effective and efficient political agent, I still have lukewarm feelings towards the man.

This, in and of itself, is not groundbreaking. The country at large seems to feel the same way about Al. However, the larger issue at hand is what this says about a relatively informed citizenry in a democracy. I would love to blame it all on the media, liberal, conservative, or otherwise, but I simply cannot. We are driven as humans by our emotions, our perception.

Al Gore is unlikable; Bill Clinton is.

This saddens me on some level, because I think it raises the case that perhaps democracy is not the best form of government. It demands an informed populace and we are choosing to base ascension to public office, the highest office in the land if not the world, on a “gut feeling”?

I love the criteria people use to establish their public leaders. It is slightly different everywhere you go.

I often hear Americans mention something that this candidate is someone I could have a beer with, someone who understands me, someone who fought it out to get to the top, as if the school of hard knocks was the only education of any merit. However, on the same breath, they will turn and vote for someone like George Bush, someone who appears to be like them, but couldn’t be further from the flight of the middle and lower classes if he tried. I am not forsaking privilege nor am I admonishing it. A good education is a good education no matter how it came to you.

Al Gore has one; George Bush has his by default. Bill Clinton struggled to get his, but Georgetown is as good as any university one can speak of.

But Al Gore is unlikeable, the biggest sin in a surface-level, low-context society.

So, with all of that, I leave you with quotes exposing some of the fundamental (and erroneous?) philosophical cornerstones on which democracy is hinged. I urge you to see where your opinion rests on each individually.

Democracy arose from men’s thinking that if they are equal in any respect, they are equal absolutely.

Aristotle (384 BC-322 BC) Greek philosopher.

It has been said that Democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.

Winston Churchill (1874-1965) British politician.

Nor is the people’s judgment always true: the most may err as grossly as the few.

John Dryden (1631-1700) British poet, dramatist and critic.

Democracy means the opportunity to be everyone’s slave.

Karl Kraus (1874-1936) Austrian satirist.

The more I see of democracy the more I dislike it. It just brings everything down to the mere vulgar level of wages and prices, electric light and water closets, and nothing else.

D. H. Lawrence (1885-1930) English writer.

No man is good enough to govern another man without that other’s consent.

Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) Politician. President of the United States.

By Michael Gallagher

My name is Michael Sean Gallagher. I am a Lecturer in Digital Education at the Centre for Research in Digital Education at the University of Edinburgh. I am Co-Founder and Director of Panoply Digital, a consultancy dedicated to ICT and mobile for development (M4D); we have worked with USAID, GSMA, UN Habitat, Cambridge University and more on education and development projects. I was a researcher on the Near Futures Teaching project, a project that explores how teaching at The University of Edinburgh unfold over the coming decades, as technology, social trends, patterns of mobility, new methods and new media continue to shift what it means to be at university. Previously, I was the Research Associate on the NERC, ESRC, and AHRC Global Challenges Research Fund sponsored GCRF Research for Emergency Aftershock Forecasting (REAR) project. I was an Assistant Professor at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies (한국외국어대학교) in Seoul, Korea. I have also completed a doctorate at University College London (formerly the independent Institute of Education, University of London) on mobile learning in the humanities in Korea.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.