This Is What Democracy Look Like... Somewhere
December 9, 2022 10:27 AM   Subscribe

This Is What Democracy Look Like... Somewhere
I've always been fascinated by how elections are run around the world. Democracy in the US is crumbling, but it's not always clear what the alternative could be. So I decided to start a podcast where I ask average people how democracy works in their country, and whether they understand and/or trust it. Do they feel like they are truly represented? What other groups or institutions count as part of the democratic process (e.g., the military, students, unions, etc.)? Does federalism always lead to a 'state's rights' kind of scenario? The result is the DEMOCRACY IN... PODCAST.

For each country I have a conversation with two non-experts who can give the 'average person's' perspective. One lives in the country now, the other has experience of living elsewhere. The idea is that we get both the immediate "on the ground" point of view and a comparative perspective.

This is a total passion project of mine, one I've wanted to do for years. Ever since I was an anthropology grad student working in Bolivia and saw an election there that was so weird to me, and then I saw one in Chile and that also seemed bonkers. It made me realize that I'd never really questioned how elections are run in my own country. Or thought too deeply about how we don't all agree on what this thing called "democracy" is, even as we are fighting to defending it.

Then since becoming a US citizen I've been in despair about how undemocratic democracy is here. Making this podcast makes me feel hopeful, however, because it shows that other ways of doing things are possible. Other countries have descended into authoritarianism and recovered. Other people have confronted racism or discrimination and decided to make changes to their constitutions.

Highlights for me so far include:
- A duel British-US citizen currently living right in the heart of Georgia's election fight talking about how pathetic British corruption scandals feel.
- Learning that teenage school children are major political actors in Chile.
- Comparing federal systems in India and Mexico to the US, and basically proving that it is weird that we don't all follow the same rules in the US.
- Wtf is up with Boris Johnson.
- Thinking about whether you can really be a democracy if half the country is controlled by narco-trafficers who murder critical politicians and journalists.
- All the little details about how people vote. Like, what do you actually have to do? Does it feel safer to use a pencil and paper rather than a machine?

I'm currently editing the episodes on India, and countries that I'll be covering next include Russia (as long as we can guarantee the safety of the in-country interviewee, Brazil, and Bolivia. So far the most difficult part of this project has been finding people to interview who are currently in country, because I'm relying a lot on my immigrant friend network. (This also means I'm also quite biased towards South America).

So I would absolutely love it if some metafilter people volunteered to be interviewees! I'm particularly eager to talk to people from/in: Nigeria, Kenya, Italy, and the Philippines. But if you're from somewhere else, please also do get in touch. Also, I'd love to get recommendations from people on what countries have interesting electoral systems or are going through unusual situations, that I should try and cover.
Role: Creator, interviewer, editor, producer, website designer: everything!
posted by EllaEm (6 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

Whoa - this sounds awesome!
posted by rrrrrrrrrt at 1:37 PM on December 9, 2022 [1 favorite]

Very excited to listen to this, is it available on Pocket Casts?
posted by N8yskates at 11:54 AM on December 16, 2022 [1 favorite]

I haven't heard of Pocket Casts before but I will look into it! Thanks for the recommendation :-)

Currently you can listen through the website itself, via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Libsyn, or Spotify. The podcast name is, unfortunately, rather hard to search for...
posted by EllaEm at 3:54 PM on December 16, 2022 [1 favorite]

Ok wow, that was easy. It is now available on Pocket Casts!

If anyone has other suggestions of places I should add it, or how to promote in general, please let me know!
posted by EllaEm at 4:00 PM on December 16, 2022 [1 favorite]

Wonderful, thank you! Only podcatcher I've used for years now. Can't wait to listen
posted by N8yskates at 8:02 AM on December 17, 2022 [1 favorite]

Wow so... I had to take a break due to family stuff. Ironically just after I'd announced it here. But I'm back at it again now with an episode from India! I'm currently recruiting for Season 2, so let me know if you or someone you know has opinions about their country they would like to share :-)
posted by EllaEm at 3:59 PM on July 8, 2023

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