Jurriaan Kamp: Juries can save America’s eroding democracy

Jurriaan Kamp writes in the Huffington Post:

America proudly sees herself as the leader of the democratic world. Democracy is on the rise around the globe. Forty years ago, think tank Freedom House published its first annual report ranking the world based on democratic freedoms. A mere 40 countries had free elections. Back then, Spain and Portugal were military dictatorships. Today, Freedom House counts 87 nations as “free countries,” a doubling in less than four decades. An additional 60 countries are “partly free,” leaving 48 countries still labeled “not free.”

Good news. However over the same forty years America’s own democracy has been eroded. First politics became a terrible money game with candidates having to spend ridiculous amounts of money to get elected based on sound bite simplifications of all important issues. And ultimately that money game has ended in a stalemate on Capitol Hill where two parties now only agree on one strict rule: If they want “yes” we will certainly and clearly say “no” — no matter the arguments.

Somewhere at the core of the idea of democracy is the notion that the people — or their representatives — get together for a dialogue out of which insight and vision may emerge. Continue reading