Rory Stewart: How To Build Democracy

November 12, 2013 by MPA@UNC Staff

In the past, democracy was hailed for the autonomy it gave citizens and the power it gave communities. Today, many citizens are skeptical of politicians and have lost faith in democracy. Rory Stewart, a member of the British Parliament, makes a case for changing the ways politicians address the public in order to regain the trust of their constituents.

After speaking with people in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq, Stewart noticed that democracy was not creating secure governments as had been anticipated. Stewart eventually withdrew his support for the invasion in Iraq when citizens reported they were unable to trust or peacefully work alongside the foreign influences put in place after the US-led invasion.

Even in the United States, citizens tend to distrust public figures. This, Stewart claims, is the root of disillusionment in politics. Stewart calls on politicians to be honest and upfront about things that cannot or should not be done for the benefit of the people. Only through honesty will citizens begin to put their trust back in democracy.