In the last podcast we lamented the sorry state of the civilian fleet in BSG — the fact that every time we hear about them they’re involved in some kind of mob-like behavior like rioting, selling each other’s children, or electing Baltar president.
Like Kay said in MIB, “A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky, dangerous animals and you know it.” And, as BSG showed, when you allow a bunch of “dumb, panicky, dangerous animals” to make decisions directly, bad things happen. On the other hand, there’ll come a point when Roslin will run out of ideas — or simply be wrong — and the fleet’ll have to come to terms with the woman king. (In fact, maybe we’ve already arrived at that point; while Baltar’s the supergenious we all love to hate, I’m not sure Roslin’s quick use of drugs in his interrogation are going to prove the best decision for the fleet — espcially considering the upcoming trial.)
Certainly a number of you have picked up on this as well.
Listener Rorlins commented:
“What’s interesting is that we are beat over the head time and time again about how perfect democracy is, but for whatever reason the people at BSG want to show us that democracy is flawed, and very much so. You see the rise of the ‘mob menality’ you mentioned. You see demagogues (I get that spelled right?) like Baltar being elected. They are making strong commentary on the need (as you said) for checks and balances, and the merits/ flaws of benevolant dictatorship.”
While I agree that the writers are showing us the dirty bottom side of democracy,I can’t help but wonder if the message they’re trying get across is lessthe simple fact that democracy(and conversely benevolant dictatorship) are flawed than the more complex and hard-to-grasp-for-some fact that governments that revere pure democracy — to the point that they see it as an all-powerful force of good –often lead people down the primrose path. In fact, it’s not democracy that we revere as much as a basic representative government — which realistically often takes the form of a representative democracy orthe more genericrepublic.
It seems, though, that rather thanconsidering these other governmental processes,the fleet’s leaders just keep pogoing between taking fleet-wide votes and dismissingthe democratic process altogether.
I’m not suggesting that Roslin should step down, nor that she should even have to stand election. As Joe commented:
“To expect the fleet to live ordinary lives as a democratic government when they are being attacked by Cylons every week or so is a bit silly. Life in the fleet is tough! Who has time to worry about how democratic their government is? Don’t forget, everyone is still eating algae. Not to mention that everyone lives in pressurized vessels floating through space.”
Maybe Roslin should stay in power,more like the “president for life” that exist in some republics. I am suggesting, however, that at some point the people have to understand what kind of government they actually have and how they can participate in it. Then it might be possible for them to do something other than riot for food and fill Galactica’s flight decks.
It seems as though BSG’s government in the past was some form of representative democracy, as demonstrated by the Quorum. (Clearly, though, RDM & Co. aren’t too fond of the Quorum, either. Their role in the past few seasons hasn’t risen much above that of the civilian fleet.) But could the failure of the Quorum simply lie in its small size or its method of selection?
Either way, the fleet needs a real government. What do you think?