The Problems of Democracy

Richard Citrin Ph.D., MBA
Richard Citrin Ph.D., MBA

It probably won’t surprise anyone to find out that in a recent survey by the American Psychological Association, 57% of Americans reported that they were stressed by our current political landscape.

Last week must have seen that number skyrocket.

If you are an involved citizen, there is no way to avoid being concerned about all that is swirling about us. It’s more than politics, however. It is about your patriotism and belief in the values of our country. After all, as John Dewey once said, “the answer to the problems of democracy is more democracy.” That probably means more stress for all of us.

In the Resilience Advantage, my co-author Alan Weiss and I write that stress is unavoidable and rather than try to escape it, we might just want to embrace it and do what we can to use it to advance our success and what we believe should happen in the world.

Embracing those challenges might include:

  • Gaining perspective from multiple points of view. Listening to opposing points of view may seem difficult but being an informed citizen demands it.
  • Working on behalf of your beliefs. It’s election time. Get out there and canvass for your preferred candidate. Call or write your senator or representative to make sure you express your view.
  • Determine what is important to you. The sound bite or news headline is designed to throw you off kilter. Don’t let it. Stay focused on the bigger picture.
  • Create a politics-free zone. We visited my brother and sister in law this weekend and while we had some heartfelt discussions about the past week’s events, we found it much more fun to share family stories.
  • Look for the good: I saw Bill Gates on TV last week and he was passionate about how much good is going on in the world. He shared that more than 100,000 people around the world are lifted out of extreme poverty every day!

America is one big social experiment. Sometimes we get it right and sometimes we get it wrong, but the sun will rise again tomorrow and there will be more opportunities for all of us to make a difference.

© Richard Citrin, All rights reserved, 2018


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