The trends that I monitor to predict the future are driven by: 1. competition for resources, 2. technology, 3. demographics, and 4. governance. This article will focus on governance because that’s what’s been on my mind this month. The question is how are we going to govern ourselves? Recently several states have passed legislation to limit voting rights. These seems odd to me to do in a democracy. 

In a democracy, isn’t voting what it’s all about? Having an informed electorate casting their vote to elect those who represent us. It appears that many states are passing legislation to restrict voting to discourage people from casting their ballots. The reason given is to improve the integrity of elections.  However, when I look more closely at the legislation that’s being passed, almost every measure limits the hours of voting, limits the ability to vote, and restricts the number of polling places.  

When I worked with Illinois legislators as director of industrial development for the state, I learned that the political process is messy. In our current political climate at the state level and somewhat at the federal level, we are struggling to determine whether we want to be governed by democracy, the rule of the majority or an oligarchy, the rule of a few. 

According to a June 29, 2019 article in the Wall Street Journal, Charles Koch, at 85, the libertarian tycoon who spent decades funding conservative causes says that he wants a final act building bridges across political divides.  

What if instead of restricting voting to minimize participation, we focused on adopting policies for the “greater good” through conversation, collaboration and compromise.  What if we sought to understand the other person’s point of view before trying to convince them of ours? It is dishearten to see the gerrymandering, the effort to limit voting hours and restrict mail-in ballots all with the stated purpose of improving the integrity of the elections.  

Does the quest for power and control justify giving up democracy? Historians will look back at this time and see it as a watershed moment in U.S. history. In the next few years, we will determine whether we are going to live under a democracy or an authoritarian oligarchy. How say you?