Political Trust & Distrust 14

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Participation builds trust.  People notice when they are excluded, whether from elections, representation in the legislative process, equal protection of the laws, or public service delivery.

Elections are useful to us only if we all have an opportunity to participate. Over time, and with struggle, the desire to be included has led to incremental improvements. Today, almost every person 18 years and above has the right to vote and run for office in elections.

A legislature controlled by only one faction that decides all policies is not much better than a dictator. The magic of collective decision making by elected representatives happens only when there is a true competition of ideas and policies. That competition requires members elected from most or all of the relevant factions within the population and some sharing of agenda control.

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Image: Protest for voting rights, 1963. Associated Press.

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