The Democracy Book-Principle 10

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Principle 10: Lawmakers and managers are supposed to represent the people, not themselves.

Letter, Lawmaker, Computer User

Some managers and lawmakers don’t like people. Their hearts are closed to the people. They may be dishonest and selfish. But the good ones have big hearts. Their hearts are open to the people. They ask people to mail them letters. They ask people to send them e-mails. They want to know what people need and how they can help them.

You or your parents may have heard stories of bad managers or lawmakers who took the people’s money and used it to buy fancy cars or to build big houses for themselves. That means they did not care about the people. We say they did not have “good hearts.” Other managers and lawmakers are good. We say they have “good hearts.” When the managers and lawmakers hear from the people they learn that better schools are needed for the children. Families need doctors and nurses. Farmers need help to raise better crops and healthier animals. Roads need to be built and maintained. All these things are important.

Bad managers and lawmakers do not care what the people need—they just want to help themselves and their friends. They don’t want to hear from the people. That is not right. They were not elected to get rich! What were they elected for? They were elected to serve the people. Therefore they need to hear from the people. Then they can make laws and manage society in a way that will help people have better lives. In a democracy, lawmakers and managers want to hear from the people. They have “good hearts.” They care about the people.


There was a lot of talk about who to elect to be lawmakers. They knew the decision would be by vote, and they had to have a majority to win, but who should they elect? For the next couple of days that was all people talked about. Nadesh was in favor of his friend, Sandesh. Petra on the other hand thought Denetra would be a good law maker. It was truly amazing how many different opinions there were. It appeared there would be no easy agreement—there were so many different ideas! A few even wanted to vote to have no laws at all. But most could see that laws actually make it fairer for everyone.
A lot of fights would break out and a lot of time wasted if there were no laws or rules. Elena had said that, or some big word like that, usually was not helpful. She clearly agreed there must be laws and some managers to make sure the laws were obeyed and things ran smoothly.

Peter said he wanted the kids to elect him to be a law maker. Petra asked him why. At least he was honest when he replied, “Then I could set things up just the way I like them. I might even make people pay me a tax before they can play in the games each day.”  He was grinning real big.  He thought he could make himself rich.

Nadesh had overheard Peter and Nadesh was upset!

“You selfish thief,” he yelled. “We will not have bribes here—just clean, straight ways of dealing.” He gave a huge sigh. “Everybody knows lawmakers are not supposed to use their position to feather their own nests!”

Peter’s mouth dropped open. He seemed shocked! And Nadesh wasn’t finished yet.

“That is what is wrong in the world. Some people just try to grab riches and power for themselves!  Don’t you know that rule makers are supposed to look out for ALL of the people?! They can’t just look out for themselves or the whole system falls apart.” He paused for a breath and then continued, “It is supposed to be an honor to SERVE the others. It is a chance to help everyone, not a chance to just help you. We don’t want to elect thieves; we want to elect public servants.” There, he felt better now. He was tired of mean people hurting others. Especially when they held positions of power and they used those positions to do things that were not honorable.

Peter just walked away with his head down. He never mentioned wanting to be elected a lawmaker again.

When it came time for the election it was actually quite simple. After all the talking of who would run for the positions of lawmakers and also for the manager positions, only a few actually wanted to try it.  Nadesh was elected to be one of the lawmakers and Petra was elected to be one of the managers. The evening games started up again a few days later. The lawmakers had met and ironed out the rules.  Then the managers met and got everything organized. There were almost no fights over the rules.  When there was a disagreement it was usually solved quickly by the managers. Things were running
pretty smoothly. To be continued....

Activity: Have the children nominate and then elect one person to manage part of the day’s activities (games at recess, story reading time, passing out small denominations of money, etc.)  Coach the elected “manager” to be selfish and mean. At story reading time, he just reads to himself and 2 or 3 friends in the corner and others cannot hear. Most children will not like this!  At the passing out of the money (1 or 2 low value pieces for each), have the “bad” manager keep half of the money himself. Some others will get some money and some will get none. Discuss how they liked having a manager who did what he pleased and did not care about others. RE-ELECT: Have them nominate and elect again, only this time coach the manager to be fair. He makes sure all can hear the story, that everyone gets an equal amount of money and none for himself, etc. In discussion lead the children to compare and contrast the two different experiences. Conclude with, “In a democracy, lawmakers and managers listen to the people and do what is good for the people.”

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