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Small Stuff Democracy

From: Michael Leland
Length: 07:24

A look at the unexpected instances of democracy in our society and how we use voting and majority rule in everyday life. Read the full description.

Smallstuff_small You don't have to be a politician to have experience with democracy. In fact you don't even have to go to the polls. Many Americans spend their entire lives swimming in democratic concepts day in and day out. As Michigan Radio's Tamar Charney reports as a culture our sense of democracy is so ingrained that we look to voting and majority rule in our everyday lives. Sometimes the decisions being made are trivial, but the fact that we look to democratic principles in day-to-day matters speaks volumes about our sense that it's a fair and effective means of decision making.

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Piece Description

You don't have to be a politician to have experience with democracy. In fact you don't even have to go to the polls. Many Americans spend their entire lives swimming in democratic concepts day in and day out. As Michigan Radio's Tamar Charney reports as a culture our sense of democracy is so ingrained that we look to voting and majority rule in our everyday lives. Sometimes the decisions being made are trivial, but the fact that we look to democratic principles in day-to-day matters speaks volumes about our sense that it's a fair and effective means of decision making.

Stations, put this piece on your web site:
view web module download web module
Public Radio Collaboration 2003 Features - The Culture of Democracy

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Review of Small Stuff Democracy

This piece from veteran Michigan Radio producer Tamar Charney explores a variety of spontaneous everyday moments, decision-making moments when we Americans unconsciously lean on our collective affection for basic democratic principles. Charney spends some time with a typical American family as they use 'majority rule' to make domestic decisions, and then the piece moves to an interesting interview with a grocery worker who expresses doubts about whether or not our votes really count.

The idea that we simultaneously trust the principles of democracy and distrust its application, that's the crux of this piece. Charney puts it succinctly when she says, "We vote characters off islands and pick the next American Idol using democratic principles, but we don't think it works for politics."

This is a thoughtful and nicely produced segment, especially for election season.

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Review of Small Stuff Democracy

Unusual and interesting angle on how
democracy is reflected in our social ways of being, about what kind of person democracy creates. It's great to hear the kids in a family talk about democracy at work in their personal context. This report feels more relaxed and personable than a standard NPR report, while feeling no less credible. I will definitely carry something away from this and at least in the immediate future, being looking at social interactions with this report in mind.
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