Yiannis Laouris bravely searches for a third road between representative democracy and direct democracy in the European Parliament.
We educate citizens of all ages to fit in a broken political system – not as active participants but as consumers who once every few years buy a new product in the form of a political party.
Democratic politicians have created a reality with its own rules and its own language that has lost authenticity. Big words are used not to propagate ideas but to continue the status-quo. Democratic politics has become like corporate firms that pledge innovation but make money on business as usual.
Therefore, both the citizens and the politicians are broken and need to be repaired. Citizens need to leave behind their identity as passive consumers, politicians need to leave behing their identity as corporate marketing managers.
The only feasible way I see this happen is to start educating both citizens and politicians to master civic skills that are essential to deal with otherness: to be able to conduct a dialogue, to negotiate, to gain mutual understanding, to manage or resolve conflicts and being able to learn during our entire life span. Mind you, these are no political skills. It is not about using these skills to win. It is about using these skills to be able to live together based on empathy.
Two groups in particular in my opinion need to acquire these skills as soon as possible: indigenous citizens and politicians above regional level. They have no accountability and therefore no need for self-reflection. And I believe that self-reflection is the basis of all civic skills.