“Democracy… while it lasts is more bloody than either aristocracy or monarchy. Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There is never a democracy that did not commit suicide.”
Power struggles and conflict resolution have been important aspects of history, including our current area of study in this class, the American Revolution. We now have the opportunity to look at how our own group is dealing with these issues. It seems to me like there have been some tensions and disputes over decision-making. Several questions arise from this difference in opinion. If a leader has been democratically elected, what are his or her boundaries? If someone has a very strong opinion but is in the minority, what is the rest of the group’s responsibility to the minority?
We obviously don’t want a dictator. We want a leader to listen to all sides of a question, however we don’t want them so influenced by different opinions that they can’t make decisions or be effective. On the other hand, what are the rights of a minority? Does democracy mean that minority opinion is to be disregarded? How do we include all aspects of the group, and yet maintain pragmatic order? Or is there a more important lesson here in this project? Is it more important for us to think about these types of problems rather than get the project done to the vision of all?
My vision of the project is that the setup we have now is working smoothly. We have plans for research and scripting, and the project is up and running. However, not all students in the class agree, and there has even been some clashing of ideas. Our teacher has vowed to take a step back and let us work out these knots ourselves. However, questions of democracy arise along with these problems.
In our current democracy in the United States, there are checks and balances. Even the minority senate can filibuster a proposal, making sure that it never becomes law. Our forefathers of the American Revolution felt that it was important for the minority to have some voice and recourse. However, one can reach “gridlock” when the minority chooses to prevent any ideas or proposals from moving forward. This would be my concern for what could happen to this project.
Conflict resolution is the skill of bringing people with diverse ideas to the table to come up with some form of compromise. This is very different from a democracy, which asks the question; is democracy the best way to run the Age of Exploration project? To run the United States?