To help give a little bit of perspective on where I’m coming from when it comes to issues of public trust and whatnot, I’ve decided to share an essay I wrote for for my political science class. If I remember correctly, we were told to answer the question ‘what is the one change that could be made to the American political system to improve America’s democracy?’
For starters, I don’t believe America is a democracy. And I have some serious doubts about whether the nation, in its current form, can even be fixed, let alone “improved.” America needs to be totally changed. I also believe America’s problems go much deeper than its political systems, which are –don’t get me wrong– a serious problem in and of themselves, but also a symptom of other problems. I decided to address one of the things that jumped out most to me while living in America, and something that I think has utterly shattered American public life. That is, America’s almost total lack of meaningful and functioning public space, coupled with its obsession with security and target hardening.
There’s a lot of questions in this essay that need a deeper probing –in particular, on the production of normalcy– but this being a 101 paper and me being under time constraints, I just couldn’t get into a lot of it, and it’s all a little slapdash. All the same, I think it provides a decent overview of some of my thinking on this subject.
I should also mention that this essay was written in Busan, South Korea in mid January and very early February. While concerns about COVID-19 were in the air at the time, we were still about two weeks away from The Daegu Outbreak. I consider this my last piece of pre-COVID non-fiction writing. As such, it’s a bit of a curiosity to me.
Because it has some length, I’ve put it after the jump, and included a PDF for people who prefer that sort of thing. The PDF is here.
The essay is after the jump.