BY SYDNEY ROSS SINGER – Have you ever seen kids in school hold mock elections?

It’s amusing to adults to watch innocent and uninformed youngsters pick the candidate they want as president. How can they really decide intelligently? They have no idea of what is really going on in the world. Their decisions can only be based on superficialities, such as how the candidates look, or how well they deliver their speeches.

The sad fact is, it’s no different for adult voters.

Yet another release of secret government documents from the whistle blower website Wikileaks makes it clear that the news we are told is either half truths or complete lies. Despite an abundance of news sources and the Internet, our world view is really a carefully manipulated consumer product.

We have no idea of what is really going on.

In a complex world where so much is happening, clearly none of us can know what is fully going on. Even the President of the United States cannot know all that is happening. But you would expect that the President would be briefed by his advisors so he can make informed decisions.

To make an informed decision at election time, the public relies on the media and its pundits for advice. But what if the media has no real clue as to what’s really going on, either?

According to the newly released documents from Wikileaks, that seems to be the case.

Should we support a new war, or end an old one? Are the policies of the administration something we can support or should we call for change? Are we the good guys or the bad guys? Is anybody the good guy?

Most importantly, how can we come to an intelligent, informed opinion about current events when the truth is a secret, and we are not part of the “inner circle” in the know?

While choice is an essential feature of a democracy, it must be informed choice. Choosing candidates for their positions and goals when you have no real clue as to what is really going on in the world, including what our own government is secretly doing, is a dictatorship by the ignorant. Without truth, democracy is a fraud.
Government officials will insist that some secrets are necessary. They condemn Wikileaks for exposing these secrets to the world, endangering government operatives involved in these international charades.

However, keeping a secret, like keeping a lie, is a slippery slope. It gives power to the secretive. And power corrupts.

Democracy cannot survive with a secretive government. It reduces voters to puppets of those feeding them the lies.

Of course, the United States is not really a democracy. We are a republic. We vote like a democracy, but our vote only appoints someone else to make decisions for us. In practice, there has always been a ruling class of elite politicians who make the decisions. These individuals are considered more informed and capable of running the country than the common people.

This means our political system is paternalistic. We are treated like children, given enough information to make us feel part of it all, but not enough to really know what’s going on. After all, truth can be disturbing. It might give us all nightmares.

So it should be no shock to our system to learn that the truth has been held from us by the government. We are supposed to have faith that our fearless leaders know what is really going on, and will always make the right decisions for us.

Every couple of years, in November, we are supposed to play election, when we listen to the stories of candidates and decide on which one we like best.

Just don’t forget to put your tooth under the pillow for the Tooth Fairy.

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