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Sai Rajeshwari Gourishetty

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Are we too harsh on our politicians or leaders?

We expect cent percent righteous behavior of our politicians, every unsuccessful action of theirs in highlighted and if any decision of theirs backfires, we do not expect or encourage them to make it right. With elections nearing, they are left with justifying their wrongdoings (since accepting their mistakes wont help them get votes).
Can we encourage a model where leaders who have failed in some decisions or policies (which they have not done intentionally, and can be repaired) get a chance, can we change our outlook and not forget their bigger and very helpful contributions?

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  • Dec 10 2013: Your question can lead down many paths and I don't know at this time if one can answer such an open query. Truth in action is more powerful then truth in words and words seem to be the norm in politics as opposed to action. We as a people have great intentions in life, however, how often are those intentions realized in full? Stumbling blocks constantly inhibit our paths and so we are redirected as water to find a more suitable way. What I would like to see are humans stepping up to leadership positions with humble attitudes and servant hearts. We as a nation have become divisive and and callus and as such have lost the ability to compromise and communicate for the good of the whole as compared to the good of a one. It is time to accept where we are in life and to come together for the betterment of the future of our children and not our present selves. A servant heart a humble life a peaceful path. Thank you
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      Dec 10 2013: Thanks for sharing your perspective. You are right, only discussions and words wont work but I'm hoping it to be a start. I'm amazed at the depth you've considered this but sometimes working on the present is an insurance for the future.
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    Dec 10 2013: Electoral democracies are support systems. Support dynamics work on numbers, not righteousness. Rather what most voters seek IS right. So it is immaterial if a leader or politician is doing something beneficial for the voters in the long run, but it is very important if s/he is doing for what the mandate was given.
    It is necessary for the electorate to be very reasoned in their approaches of dealing with their representatives. First, a leader/politician is expected to set policies whose consequences may be felt many more years than the politician's term on office. All policies should therefore be debated carefully. Second, it should be clear where the electorate (or check and balance mechanisms like Judiciary, Central Vigilance Commission etc.) draws the line between an honest mistake and a mistake with criminal intent, or else no leader will dare to take bold yet prudent decisions.
    To encourage a model as suggested by you, Education and Awareness of Constitutional rights amongst the voters will be a must, or else governance will be diluted in cheap populist decisions. So it appears that the buck doesn't stop with the leaders rather it comes back to the followers.
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      Dec 10 2013: True, the buck shouldn't stop with the leaders.
      Thanks for bringing in a lot of clarity into the picture!
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      Dec 10 2013: Yep, technically we have the power... the power to choose freely. Between what? We're mostly choosing between Scylla and Charybdis...

      (in Sweden we have the saying choosing between plague and cholera)
  • Dec 21 2013: No we are not harsh enough

    OED
    Fraud: Wrongful or criminal deception intended to result in financial or personal ("add political") gain: A person or thing intended to deceive others, typically by unjustifiably claiming or being credited with accomplishments or qualities.

    Traitor: A person who betrays a friend, country, principle etc

    If we deceive another for financial gain, we are fined or jailed

    If a politician lies through his teeth in order to gain power, and betrays an entire nation causing millions of deaths by proxy, and the endless suffering of surviving children, families, and soldiers, he gets away with it

    Nixon - Johnson; "War Over The Fence Lao", a small nation innocent of any wrong doing, bombed round the clock for nine years, with more bombs than were dropped in WW11; and their children are still being blasted to bits by unexploded cluster bombs.

    Bush - Blair - Howard; They conspired and lied about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq: Saddam Hussain was rightly hung for his crime of causing the deaths of many 10's of thousands; Nixon and Johnson were not for causing the death of many 100's of thousands; and I wonder what the body count was under Hussain, as compared to the body count since his demise?

    John Kennedy said "Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country" Bovine Excrement

    Reality: Ask not what the Corporate World can do for you, ask what you can do for the Corporate World

    And Corporate Computerised Big Brother, is/are very likely reading these very words; but they are infinitesimal, as opposed to the Universe.

    WW1-WW11-Korea-Vietnam-Cambodia-Lao etc = Corporations and Politicians profit = we do not

    However in the face of such continuing evils; I take solace in the belief, that when I finally leave this mortal coil, I shall see all of these supposedly God worshipping hypocrites/miscreants, in the complete total isolation, of eternal everlasting hell; but I will only be visiting and......
  • Dec 21 2013: Yes. We need to be and continue to do so. For, the politicians are supposed to be leaders, who must look into future and not for petty short term advantages. For, they are supported with lavish data, information and the exclusivity, power, and high qualified brains to assist them doing their duties. If they mess up, they must be harsly punished through vote. However, People are wiser enough to know the difference between opportunistic decision getting wrong or a thoughtful decision getting inadvertently wrong. Thus, the sca;e of harshness in pushing them, thus varies.
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    Dec 17 2013: I do not believe that we are being too harsh.
    In fact I believe that more people need to ask more questions. In India, especially in rural parts, people treat their elected officials as Gods. Politicians are Public servants, they should be answerable to us.
    That being said a lot of people are more concerned with issues that affect them or their community only, and raise their voices only when they are directly and noticeably affected. People aren't informed enough about the ways in which certain policies can affect them indirectly even though it seems has though it benefits them at first.
    A democratic government can only work if people ask informed questions and actively influence policy making that benefits everyone.
    As for the question of a suitable model, I think some type of an independent body could set up a website that shows all the policies and decisions taken by each and every politician and their impact and gives them a rating. I believe this could possibly give the voters more information on the effectiveness of their candidates.
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    Dec 16 2013: Currently our politicians and leaders still posses too much power and therefore it is critical for the subjected ( @ Fred ) to question their decisions, but with a open mind. And yes , we might be "nearing a time when leadership of the masses might not be required" ( @ John ) but how long will it take for that time to arrive.

    I am a South Africa and We have had many leaders and still do whom need to be judged harshly and the history of my country has taught us , it is only when the subjected find a leader that by nature they do not have to question to harshly, then only can we see and experience true change.
    Nelson Mandela said " None of us is born courageous, it is all in how we react to different situations "

    Although Politicians are or should be the voice of the masses they are only human and when an Man or Woman eventually posses the power that comes with being a leader they often forget the true inspiration or cause that brought them into power.

    this is where the masses / subjected's, role come in.... to be harsh upon those they hopefully elected .... for if we just start accepting those that govern our worlds and countries, without question, we might just as-well open a beehive with no idea how to stand fast, calm and be in control.

    But somewhere deep inside, we all hope for a day that the primitive instinct, will only be a memory and words like inequality and hierarchy will only be known as ancient nightmares.

    But until then we need to be harsh, question , at times agree or disagree but most off all empower ourselves and others, if only for our own sanity.
  • Dec 10 2013: Sai, Thank you,
    I've placed both links on my desktop to view, read, and consider, at a much later hour.
    Thank you for your well thought out approach to learning.

    From the glimpse I've had I can tell that there are many other people who, like myself,
    wonder why we Geographically Governed peoples are so unaware of how we have been
    controlled for the last several thousands of years.

    I feel like an animal (politically) herded into a pen for slaughter. Perhaps I shouldn't use that analogy
    with you. I am quite old, and my interests in elections has been almost non-existent since the 1960's
    when I felt strongly about the direction our fearless leaders were heading.

    The 2 party system of selection has been in-place since almost the first days of this nation's birth.
    And with proper guidance it worked for a while.

    But, then the Lawyers graduated from Harvard, to name one of many schools, they moved into
    Washington DC and ended up running the Government along with the Titans of (for example)
    Goldman Sachs.

    Banking sits n the background, lending to Government as they manufacture Weapons for never-
    ending Wars. Every 50 years or so, the Banks create a false crisis, and dip their beaks. Leaving
    the loans on the books to be rewritten time and time again.

    I may have drifted off the subject. I apologize. But if I might offer some reading.
    Lucius Mestrius Plutarchus aka: Plutarch, concerning banking some 2000 years ago. Not much
    has changed since then. Banks then created crisis and dipped their beaks.
    You may have to search around a bit to find his essays concerning this. Good luck if you do.
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    Dec 10 2013: We are actually far too lenient on our politicians. They constantly screw us over in favor of benefiting other elites, yet because we have a desire to make sure the "other side" doesn't win, we continue to throw our support behind them.
  • Dec 10 2013: your right hypocrisy in the citizens is the reason we get hypocritical leaders.

    people who live with and true an open loving heart, who are sincere wont go into politics, that's the arena of the liars, cheaters, power hungry people.

    people with this mind set, who totally lost themselves into the political games and lost all sincerity (truth inside them), will keep screwing up our lives till there will emerge a new system.

    democracy is the worst system except for the ones we have already tried.
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    Dec 10 2013: Yes,

    I'm a politician and in my system I can never be blamed as long as I do as my voters want me to. If I don't I'm obliged to resign and if I don't do that I'll be stripped of power by the ones I've betrayed.

    And it'll happen fast, no 4 year terms here.

    Basically the power lies with the people, and I just do as they say. And the ones voting for me are the ones who think I'm a good representative for them, so it's really easy.
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      Dec 10 2013: I Like it...... I like it a lot!
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        Dec 10 2013: I'm still waiting for a party from the US to come join http://www.e2d-international.org/ but most seem to have the direct notion that "it sounds great but would never work, at least not in the US"

        Here's a little more on how it (liquid democracy) works http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fg0_Vhldz-8

        And here's how you start a party (not sure if applicable to the US) http://www.wikihow.com/Create-a-Political-Party

        GO!
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          Dec 10 2013: Good work Jimmy, I checked it all out and I will give it some consideration. Thanks for all the info and hard work you have done and passed on. By the way, if everybody does not think it will work in the USA, then that's a pretty good indication that it will, just not as they envision it!
          I am not a politician or an activist, I am just a brain trust. If I like what you are doing I will help but in the background, waaaay in the background. I already have my life's work cut out for me.
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        Dec 10 2013: In this system you're allowed to work from the background... But people need a framework to gather and at present there isn't one for the US.

        Maybe you could just influence some people to do this for you, for all of you.
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          Dec 10 2013: Hi Jimmy, thanks for sharing on 'liquid democracy'. I'm sorry to know of the constraints you face, the little flexibility with your voters' choice/demands.
          Has it happened ever then that you contradicted their demands/expectation?
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        Dec 10 2013: Oh, and I really didn't want to be a politician either... I wanted to be a scientist... But I wanted to do science to do good for humanity, then I realized that it doesn't matter what I invent if the policies were wrong, and the best thing I could do for science and humanity is to enable others to do the things I wanted to do...

        I too consider myself a brain-trust... I just want to learn and share that knowledge...
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        Dec 10 2013: Sai,

        I don't see them as constraints at all, I'm just a small part of the whole, If my particular view isn't convincing enough people are and should be free to choose another representative at any time, or alter some aspects of what I suggest. And they do. I've willingly become of a part of this system and it's something that I'm trying to build as I think that it will empower people to be empowered.

        No, it has never happened, but on the other hand my party doesn't yet have any political power at all, so I haven't even been able to vote as they please yet. Not in a way that "counts" anyway...

        In my model we don't have a few leaders, everyone that wishes to be a leader or representative can be that instantly, and anyone can quit whenever.

        I don't see it as little flexibility, I see it as voters actually getting their say, and I shouldn't be the one speaking for them, I should only be passing their vote to make it count.

        I know that it's hard to grasp for many what this system is about, it's not about your elected knowing better then the people I can tell you that.

        I have 1 vote and if someone chooses to give their vote to me I have 2.
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      Dec 10 2013: Could you remind me what your political office is now?
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        Dec 10 2013: I am party secretary of AD (active democracy) it's a huge role, traditionally second only to the chairman.

        But my party has no political power (yet)...
    • Dec 16 2013: what about media. who has the biggest coin can advertise them selfs and kind of cheat mentally weak mass and then get more power. and i think this has happened long time. sorry didnt read all the comments yet but frank barry made the longer version already.
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        Dec 16 2013: I think that social media might be the solution to that, we're not that dependent on traditional media anymore...
  • Dec 10 2013: We are not harsh enough.

    United States Politicians and Political Party Leaders have used their positions and our taxes
    to control the Government. Not that they are all a bunch of crooks.
    They are not that.

    But, "the 2 party system" does not reflect the will of the people.

    I ask you consider -- Each Political Party's functions.
    Each Political Party has a Leadership.
    Mostly, both Party's Leaders are Retired Politicians.

    These Leaders select the Candidates for the high offices, years before any campaign begins.
    They interview the Candidates, raise the monies, and use paid media, and polls to bring the
    Candidates and Party Members together, and begin the spotlighting of their selections.

    Finally after long campaigns, debates, and conventions, the most popular of the Candidates
    are put on the ballots. The electors vote.

    The result -- A very few people from 2 Parties have selected the Leader for 350,000,000 Americans.

    It does not matter which Candidate wins.
    Both Party Leadership's (A very few people) split the Government.

    The People only had the choices of a very few people to choose from.

    If the selectors of Candidates are evil, or make bad selections, our Government will reflect that.
    And has.

    63 Wars and counting. 45 years of NSA development.
    This Century, loss of Privacy and Freedom. Gains of Secrets, Spies and Surveillances.
    Somehow, I blame the selectors of Candidates.
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      Dec 10 2013: Not to mention that with the electoral college it only takes a dozen people to elect a president! I want the outdated electoral college abolished so my vote will really count, we are not in the horse and buggy days anymore. I don't give a damn how Iowa votes, we should all vote at the exact same time and know instantly who is president. Instead of stringing it out for hours, days or even weeks for more commercial time as has been done in the past. As for the people in Hawaii... well their vote has not counted in years if ever, by the time their vote is counted the president has already been selected, acceptance speech done and the president is drunk and rounding his third party already. How do you think they feel about voting???
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      Dec 10 2013: Hi Frank, I am surprised to know of the level of unfairness that you've mentioned. Until now I had thought of it to be one of the fairest systems: http://cnn.it/18RxkRD

      I hope we can learn from http://onforb.es/1gVORYF
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    Dec 9 2013: Sai, When I read about politics in India I am always amazed ... so many parties, wide diversity, so many issues, so much perceived corruption, etc ....

    There are really two issues in my opinion; 1) the media. The media should be unbiased and report the facts and let the people make judgement .... it is my opinion that this is not happening. 2) It is not only the right of the people to question their representatives but a duty. We should be knowledgeable of the issues and of the guiding documents of the country (in the USA this would be the Constitution).

    These are public figures and we should be aware that it is the duty of the opposition to destroy the other party and take that into consideration ... but not blindly.

    Yes I expect them to obey laws, be moral, and ethical .... I am often disappointed.

    It would make it much easier if the media were unbiased and trustworthy.

    I wish you well. Bob.
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      Dec 10 2013: Hi Robert, the issues you have mentioned are noteworthy.
      The media is definitely biased in India; what's worse is it is highly influential on public at large.
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    Dec 9 2013: It is useful to ask about the conditions in which leaders are respected and in which people are understanding about errors and those in which leaders are not respected and errors magnified. For example, members of teams tend to respect the coach even when the team loses. But not everyone with a stake in the team's outcomes does.

    The members of the team can see first hand how the coach had tried to deal with problems and the multiple factors or forces that need to line up for the best outcome.

    In many situations people on the sidelines may have an oversimplified view of the challenges involved in solving the problems at hand, including the predictability of the outcomes of different courses of action.
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      Dec 9 2013: Fritzie, now we are beginning to introspect; getting clarity on the conditions you talk of could prove helpful. The analogy you mentioned simplifies your perspective; Apart from gauging through people's expectations of leaders and their understanding of acceptable errors, I think there is a need of configuring people's expectations itself, a difficult task but very much needed.
      At least, here in India, some very good leaders are helpless in accepting/repairing their mistakes because they are heavily magnified in public which influences elections big time. At such, these leaders are susceptible to justifying their act rather than confessing.
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        Dec 9 2013: Politicians are often supported or rejected by particular voters for a view they have and then their supporters balk if they express a change of mind.. Those who dislike them continue to do so because they don't trust the person not to have "changed" his professed view for inauthentic reasons.
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          Dec 10 2013: Yeah, an action of change and accountability should be shown by a politician, but a change in people's mindset to accept this should also be encouraged.
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      Dec 9 2013: True, a true leader would take the blame and we can encourage this by respecting their confession, but just so to avoid a politician from taking undue advantage of this, a protocol or a political model considering this should be made where they are given a time frame to repair it.
      It's good when people also share the responsibility equally and understand it.
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          Dec 9 2013: That's the time frame for elections; I was talking about time frame for repairing their mistakes which could be less than the period for next election.
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          Dec 10 2013: So they do stand a chance to confess and repair mistakes. Glad to know of such an encouraging system.
          In some countries a confession from a leader or politician is not seen positively by most of the people; instead the media steps in and what follows in is huge criticism.
  • Dec 19 2013: Yes and no.
  • Dec 17 2013: Apart from Independent politicians that live in their community, are involved in their community, and care about their community, and are both recognised and elected by the people as such (True democracy);

    I would no more trust Incorporated (Party line) Politicians to tell the truth, than I would trust them with the truth;
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    Dec 11 2013: We are nearing a time when leadership of the masses will no longer be required. Why place resposiblity in the hands of any one person for the actions and beliefs of the majority? Soon, we will govern our lands in a more effective manner. The primative instinct for hierarchy only leads to inequality.

    Politicians and leaders are born from the power of the masses to raise a voice through our collective thoughts on issues that concern us. The voice of the people is not a job or a career, its a will of the masses. Your question of severity or being "too harsh" on a person should be a cue for those that have been empowered by us to relinquish their power when the need to speak has ended.
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      Dec 11 2013: Is there a primitive instinct for hierarchy, or is there just one for power, and the subjugated only return to justify it as hierarchy after the fact?

      If it's the latter, I don't think any mass social realization is going to bring an end world leaders. The subjugated will always be just that, unless they manage to liberate themselves by force. And then it's only a matter of time... see the American Revolution.
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        Dec 12 2013: Parent = child, husband = wife, sister = brother. Are these groups after power? These groups learn to interact with each other through cooperation, competition, and respect. Do they liberate themselves from their organizational structures through force?
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          Dec 12 2013: Sometimes. Authoritarian parents might lead a teenager to run away. A distressed wife might shoot her abusive husband. Certainly those relationships aren't brought together by a lust for power, but you could pick out many relationships in society and see one person asserting their power over another.

          Now do these things start with one side seeking power? No, of course not. We do have cooperation, competition, respect, etc. But in the context of world leaders, we have the bureaucrats, dynasties, Gaddafis of the world. Will they just put themselves aside for a better system?
  • Dec 10 2013: That's not true in the USA. In the USA, if they are in "your" party, they can do no wrong. If they are not, they can never be right.
  • Dec 10 2013: indeed it is very true that we are too harsh on our politicians and cricket icon as they falter we heap all abuses and when they succedwe eologise them!
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    Dec 10 2013: I'm on the fence here, because it's not just about them being leaders or politicians. It's about them being in the public eye and that often takes away the sense of privacy from their lives, this also applies to celebrities and entertainment icons.
    What I think people (the masses) should be reminded of is that these people are individuals like any of them and have their own character traits.
    But then again, where does the Judicial system draw the line without sentiments?
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    Dec 10 2013: OK, How about if we give them 10 strikes and your broke. I think that's fair since they only give us three strikes and we go away for a long time. Each strike has to be a normal felony for us but for them, they lose 10% of their net worth and that 10% goes to education programs or charity and it is not tax deductible. They are forced to use a public defender and no plea bargains allowed. If they are found guilty this is a mandatory sentence so not even the crooked Judges can intervene. In other words, treat them like they treat us.
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        Dec 16 2013: In order to even get their attention you have to get to the source of what they want.. money. It's your money they are spending, if you stop giving it to them.. wala you have their attention, now you can get something done.
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    Dec 8 2013: It's silly to be too harsh on our politicians and leaders. They are not imported from Mars.
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      Dec 8 2013: True, if we keep judging in this manner then we are a hindrance in their well initiated projects; this way we are encouraging them to focus more in rallying and less in doing things; they do not confess for that matter and therefore no improvement.
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        Dec 8 2013: They are sent for a task. We evaluate their performance and simply change them. There is no point ridiculing them and painting a picture as if they are all evil and we are saints. That is utterly silly.
        I am frustrated the way we jump on the Government and the politicians at the slightest of opportunity. This fosters a delusion that Government and politicians can deliver everything at our doorstep without us acting with any responsibility.
        Leaders are not necessarily politicians always either. They are people who stand up and start to determine our fate.
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          Dec 8 2013: Do you think a change in our understanding, big change in the way how media covers news for both the good and bad steps taken by the govt. can help tackle this?
          And a model that checks their progress on how much repair is done on their mistakes, with calculated time frame made available for this be of help?
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        Dec 8 2013: Mainstream Media, no. They prevent dialogue between public and leadership by pulling them apart. They report bad steps because that sells better. Open a news paper and you get your daily dose of rape, murder, corruption, crime, war and destruction. When these out number the positive stories of small hopes and successes, that becomes real news.
        Social Media are game changers. Obama or Narendra Modi can write and communicate with the public. They can confess that they too make mistakes and people can tell them if they think the mistakes are honest or otherwise.
        New Media is interactive and participatory rather than just reports.
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          Dec 9 2013: Thanks for sharing your perspective; what you stated are present facts. I wanted to know if a change in the way media operates is a plausible solution, I don't think its impossible. Social media are definitely game changers but the penetration rate of internet in India is poor, and news channels are still thought to be an active voice; it is more trusted also because the protocol with which social media like facebook and twitter operate are open to heavy misuse.

          It's true that news channels report bad steps because they sell better but it's time they change this.
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        Dec 9 2013: Dear Rajeshwari,
        Social Media also include blogs. I have been blogging since 2008 and am a member of European Journalism Center. Blogging is no less than a movement all over the world and it has created a niche readership who find it quite credible.
        The current generation is not interested in only reporting; They want to know what might be the take of the author on the issue. This is serious business and very different from facebook or twitter.
        It is true that internet penetration is low in India but it is fast changing. With mobile aided computing (smartphones and fablets around) I think social media will rule in India.
        Sensing the future, mainstream media is already collaborating with social media.
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          Dec 9 2013: Hi, the blogging potential is still untapped when it comes to news: http://bit.ly/1cw29dq
          Especially Indian blogs are mostly about cricket, travel and technical blogs. And whether blogging or not, it doesn't address the problem; the shift of majority from mass media to blogging, etc will take a lot of time, it's unpredictable and cannot be estimated.
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        Dec 9 2013: A lot of time is a relative idea, I think. It depends on what is your spectrum of anticipated change. I agree that the blogging potential is still untapped, but the constraint is primarily technological not institutional.
        If you allow me to go back to your question of 'a change in our understanding, big change in the way how media covers news for both the good and bad steps taken by the govt', I foresee a change. The journalistic neutrality has run its course. New media will need to take a stand on the issues reported on. It's risky but any big change is risky.
  • Dec 8 2013: Wayyyyyyy too harsh. Systems select 'winners' and 'leaders'. Tweak the system and you get a different set of leaders. We get what the system gives us and we tolerate the fairly major defects in the system.....tis OUR fault. They're just monkeys......in very nice suits. Higher awareness exists......just not in the halls of leadership. If you doubt this very basic fact, simply look around at the prevailing conditions of society in its division & suffering & constant conflict. Focus on the failings of the Players or focus on the failings of the System that selects the Players. Trying to change the players is parochial and very cable newsish.
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      Dec 8 2013: Scott, are you saying we're way too harsh on our leaders, and then you go ahead and are very harsh on them? I think it's hard to be a leader, as you have to please so many constituencies, with different desires, aims, goals, values. I also don't expect leaders to solve every problem I or other people have. Some suffering is built into human life by the very fact of being mortal, we get old, we get sick, and we die.
      • Dec 8 2013: Sarcasm does creep in with me from time to time. :-)

        I sometimes expect more out of our leaders.......but, they are children to be sure.
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          Dec 8 2013: what do you want them to do that they're not doing, and how do you want them to do it?

          To some degree we're all children. But I would say by the time you get to positions of power, you have demonstrated many good qualities, you have gotten past many gatekeepers.
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      Dec 8 2013: Scott, you are right in a way that there is division in society and suffering but the percentage of it is reduced and still reducing in most countries; free education is being encouraged and many new programs being supported by individuals and govt. for other necessary provisions for the suffering ones. I guess you are considering something in particular, please share.

      My point is have we reached an understanding to consider a politician or a leader's bad but repairable decision to be given time to repair? Can we encourage a political model that can be of help for them and at the same time checks their accountability in a calculated time frame.