civic engagement

16 February 2013

Interesting page where one can compare OECD countries by such indicators as health, education, salary, housing etc. etc. Did you know that Israel and Russia have the same level of civic engagement ? Both are close to zero ;-)

Why are other countries in this respect better off ? In the US people think that they can talk to a local representative, and that the representative is supposed to actually listen to what is being said.

Probably the system of local representatives suggests the notion that there is a well defined contact point to what is going on in higher places.

In Israel the member of Knesset / Parliament come from their respective party lists; so one needs to be part of a major political party in order to have a voice in serious matters, major parties tend to hold primary elections or something of that sort, minor parties don’t do that.

As for the listening part, Israelis have a problem with that. So there is no use in trying.

Or maybe it is the age of the country; democracy in other countries evolved over a very long time frame; maybe feedback mechanisms that allow for input from below are things that need time to grow. Even more so; these mechanisms are probably governed by custom and not by binding laws (Pooh Bear says Crustimoney Proseedcake); So lets examine the issue in another two or three hundred year …

Also: maybe some day a mixed system of local representatives vs party affiliated representatives might evolve here. Why did the founding fathers decide in favour of party based affiliation? Probably because of the maps: the question of boarders was not settled (as it is now), so there was no point in framing constituencies; but probably more important was that the voters were seriously divided along party lines of the various political movements, so an additional introduction of regional divisions would have been too much. The Nation is famous for its sectarianism: Must insert link to Monty Pythons Peoples Front of Judea sketch

If in some distant future (rather some parallel universe, UNLESS Final Redemption comes sooner) the politics here might actually calm down and this issue could then be reconsidered.