We’re All Adults Here, Right?


And, we understand him well

how he comes o'er us with our wilder days

not measuring what use we made of them.

His jest will savor but of shallow wit,

when thousands weep more than did laugh at it.

Henry V, Act I, Scene 2


We're all adults here. This is supposed to allow for certain assumptions. If for any reason you cannot find yourself able to allow for these assumptions, it doesn't matter how old you are, you aren't an adult. I'm sure your mother told you being an adult is more than just being over 21 years old. If she didn't, and your father didn't, then they left out something pretty important which might account for why you have what difficulty you encounter when trying to define exactly what is an adult's role in a democracy.


The assumption we must begin with is: Given what an awful time it was, and how long it took at the cost of quite truthfully countless lives achieving a democracy and its companion rule of law these must be considered to be evolutionary steps forward, and yet to be bettered. This means getting some guy you think is real smart to solve your problems for you isn't advanced thinking. It's backward thinking. It doesn't prove you're smart. It proves you're not very bright.


It's surprisingly easy to get up to speed with adult thinking. It mostly requires some reading, but civil discussions with people you can see are actually smarter than you helps a great deal, too. If you think reading is stupid, and you don't like to be civil, then it's best to just leave these matters to more responsible people. Your one last hope is to be truthful with yourself about yourself. Admitting to yourself you're not qualified to do something isn't difficult to do, either. For the sake of important things in life, it's probably best to understand what you do, and do not qualify for, and stick to what you know how to do. Leave the other stuff to people who know how, or learn how yourself. This, in fact, is a good step in learning to think like an adult, by the way.


Not to belabor the point, using the word evolution was necessary. If you can't abide anyone using the word evolution because you think God will get mad at you if you allow it to be okay with you, then you're not really going to be very happy in a democracy. Democracies require voters who are educated and have good common sense. Not understanding the concept of evolution has pretty much been worked out as one of those fact-of-life things puts you back at square one – educate yourself, or find someone qualified to educate you. Maybe you're beginning to see that participating in a democracy takes a little effort. Believe me, it's worth the effort. Imagine still being marched off to wars halfway around the world to fight for some rich guy's fortune. Oh, we still do that. This is why we need participants in democracies who aren't stupid.


Just having a democracy doesn't automatically solve any problems, like being taken advantage of by rich people, or the population tearing itself to shreds with hatred and crime. It's a tool. Sometimes it's a slow, and hard to use tool. Sometimes it may seem older forms of government like dictatorships, or rule by a king are more efficient. In fact, they are more efficient, but at what? One thing is in doing what the dictator, or king wants, even if this isn't necessarily what the people being governed want, or need. Another major problem with dictators and kings is what they don't do. They usually don't do things they don't want to do. If they don't want to stop a disease from spreading, or to get clean water to people, or make sure there's a good food supply, then they don't. And, nobody is there who can make them.


Democracies are people taking these responsibilities on themselves because time has taught us we can't trust dictators or kings. Sometimes they're good, but most of the time we can't be really sure of much from day to day with them. It makes people nervous, and nervous people have a hard time being happy. We've traded off speed, and ruthless efficiency for the idea of careful consideration. We do this to be sure everyone is considered when making a decision – even old people and babies, or unpopular people and even ugly people. We figure it's not up to us to decide who gets to live, and who gets to do all the work for the ones making the living. Obviously we have a long way to go with that part, but if we don't jump in there and try common sense . . . says . . . different things to different people. So, we ask, and we say and we get a consensus. Then, we decide. We decide by voting. The majority wins.


One of the problems with democracy is we just haven't been doing it very long. We've had kings and dictators for thousands of years; yes, thousands. We've only had up and running democracies for a couple'a hundred years, hardly any time at all. In fact, democracy and capitalism are about the same age. Both are experiments, but only one is a form of government. Capitalism is a way to organize human enterprise, but that's a story for another day. The point is we haven't really been doing democracy for very long. We've learned a lot about it in what time we have used it, but there's still a lot to learn about it. Also, we haven't really been using pure democracy. That's something that no country has ever tried, so no one really knows how that would work, just like no one really knows if there's only two ways to run an economy; capitalism or communism. Still, people like to say they know so they can sound smart.


When kids' lives are at stake it isn't moral or safe to leave it to sounds smart. It has to be smart. For a democracy to be smart, we have to be smart, so we're back to civil discussion with people smarter than us, and reading books. Unless, of course, you know another way to obtain information, and learn things you don't know. We’re all adults here, right?