What is missing in politics? Political debate and discussion among the body politic, both in communities and in Congress. We don’t have a parliament, and the town meeting is almost gone. Instead, we’ve got a manufactured narrative from the parties. Not the truth.
“For a long time this country of ours has lacked one of the institutions which freemen have always and everywhere held fundamental. For a long time there has been no sufficient opportunity of counsel among the people; no place and method of talk, of exchange of opinion, of parley. Communities have outgrown the folk-moot and the town-meeting. Congress, in accordance with the genius of the land, which asks for action and is impatient of words, –Congress, in accordance with the genius of the land, which asks for action and is impatient of words, –Congress has become an institution which does its work in the privacy of committee rooms and not on the floor of the Chamber; a body that makes laws,– a legislature; not a body that debates, –not a parliament. Party conventions afford little or no opportunity for discussion; platforms are privately manufactured and adopted with a whoop. It is partly because citizens have foregone the taking of counsel together that the unholy alliances of bosses and Big Business have been able to assume to govern for us.
“I conceive it to be one of the needs of the hour to restore the processes of common counsel, and to substitute them for the processes of private arrangement which now determine the policies of cities, states, and nation, We must learn, we freemen, to meet, as our fathers did, somehow, somewhere, for consultation. There must be discussion and debate, in which all freely participate.
“It must be candid debate and it must have for it honest purpose the clearing up of questions and the establishing of the truth. Too much political discussion is not to honest purpose, but only for the confounding of an opponent.”
Wilson, Woodrow. “Chapter 5/The Parliament of the People.” The New Freedom; a Call for the Emancipation of the Generous Energies of a People. New York and Garden City: Doubleday, Page, 1913. 90-91. Print.