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Live, I said "LIVE"

Richard Bowen | 17:52 UK time, Friday, 23 February 2007

Image106.jpgWe're now off air, but read below to find out ALL about the show.

It's day two of our Boston tour and today we're broadcasting from the Institute of Politics at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government. The 40 strong audience of students and tutors are ready to discuss tonight's hot topics, democracy and women in leadership.

You can read emails and text messages here, and of course post your own comments as well.
Here we go...

Ros from WHYS and Bob from WBUR have just introduced the audience and they've given one almighty "whooahh" to start the show off.


Hi Boston,my American friends,come and see how your model of Democracy is applied in iraq, What can i say?! Long live J.F.K.!

Peter who's from the university has given us a bit of history about the JFK building where the show's coming from.

Our audience members are now talking about a suggestion we had from Dwight about Democracy. The questions that are being asked are how can democracy be exported? What does democracy really mean? Do we take it for granted?

Is American Democracy inspiring from beyond the USA?

Max from Singapore, doesn't think democracy is inspiring from beyond the States. And because American's aren't being taken care of in America, following the New Orleans disaster, how can they be democratic.

Sarah, a Canadian student says she has seen democracy in the USA and going door to door for her studies she's met with kindness from the people she meets.

Bubaka, Banjul, The Gambia:

The rest of the world is suffering from AMERICAN MEGALOMANIA. It is time there is a counter balance to this madness they call AMERICAN DEMOCRACY.

Leland from Bloomington, Indiana U.S.A.:

The U.S, revolted from England because the elite didn't want to pay taxes to England and wanted to have more power over the population of the continent (or at least that which they could manipulate into supporting them). THe U.S. elite still is manipulating the general population to keep power and to collect taxes from the average citizen, while the elite pay tiny percentages of their income by giving themselves legal "loop-holes." That aspect of the U.S. government has not changed much at all.
About the theory of revolt for religious freedom, that is a joke. It was never a real reason for revolt, and is still not. A non-judeo-christian-islamic person in this country has less rights and support from our government than the religious ones, especially with Bush's new "Faith Based Initiatives".

Jake, Portland, Oregon:

Hello All-
Vice President Dick Cheney recently made the allegation that those who oppose the currrent administration plan, the "surge" in US troop numbers in Iraq, are helping Al-Quida. What Mr. Cheney seems incapable of understanding is that it is his blindly stubborn insistence in exercising US military might as a tool for "bringing liberty" to the rest of the world is doing exactly that. Mr. Cheney and Mr. Bush are the ones who are playing into the hands of terrorists, it is their strategy that most helps the likes of al- Quida. One does not grow or promote democracy through military might.

Steve, USA

People seem to think that "democracy" has to mean an objectively "good"
thing. Democracy is just the will of the majority of the people. It would thus be "democratic" if the majority decided to kill of the minority. So democracy can be a bad thing too.

Mustapha, Sokoto, Nigeria:

U've mentioned wot Americans fail to realise. AMERICAN DEMOCRACY is not necessarily the RIGHT DEMOCRACY. Pls take note.

Eelber, Pakistan:

American democracy may be inspiring, but the way the america supports Musharif's democracy in pakistan,it really raises suspicion about their democracy as well.

Ivy, Kenya:

You have to be a millionaire or have wealthy supporters to be able to fight a Presidential campaign in the U S. Democracy in the U S is of the HAVES only. What they export as democracy is the self interest of those in government and those who put them in power.

Peter from Malawi says that people in his country don't have access to university.

Geoff, LT:

Baltic unity on the Soviet Liberator statue in Tallinn is misguided. Baltic states needed liberation in 1944, Baltic cooperation then meant collaboration with Nazis. Sadly liberation came too late for thousands of Jews at Estonia's Klooga & other camps from Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Germany and across Europe. Estonian SS murdered them on eve of liberation so Russians wouldn't know what happened. Baltic states Judenrein till now practically.

We in kenya feel that our govt's been forced to sign on to exempt u.s from the int court on human rights, by having adverse travel advisory.

Mattia in Liberia says that America isn't supporting democracy in Africa.

Pamela originally from Chilean in France says that it's not the right of America to export democracy, and her country doesn't need it.

Hisham in France:

Question for the panel: It would be a good idea to establish a genuiine democracy within its own borders first. America is run by big business and private interests . . . how is that democracy?

Tori. Nigeria:

What will be America's price if we accept her help?

Hi! I'm Bora from Cambodia.

I have one question. " America always talks about democracy. They government seems to listen to their citizens, if not all. However, why doesn't it listen to the voice of the world. Why doesn't it realise that more and more people are against the war in IRAQ. I am afraid that at the end, America just take out their troops and leave IRAQ in the hard time like what they've done to Cambodia in 1970s ". Thanks

But then a member of the audience says why is it America's responsibility to export democracy.

In the second half we'll be asking if it's harder for women to make it in leadership. Now the news...

Another massive cheer from our Boston crowd to start the second half of the show. Here's a few more comments.

antony in hong kong

Protecting human rights seems more important than democracy

Sylvester from Nigeria:

I am totally in love with America exporting democracy, keep up your job America!

Andoveh., Kenya:

First, all present should keep in mind that America is not an independent country, if we remember that the so called Red Indians have little or no say. America is not independent so don't even talk about democracy.

Sunday, Niger state

I want america to come & help nigeria into democracy because the PDP & Obansajo are trying to ruin us.

Ross "ire" Atkinson says...

Democracy is great but it can cause wars and that's bad

USA is selective in its application of democracy. Hold elections in Somalia today and Islamists will win hands down but the USA WONT ALLOW IT

Jon in Uganda:

If america is so democratic,y is racism stil an issue?derez stil alot of segregation esp against the african americans.is that democracy?

Martinus, -Liberia:



The U.S ought to know that practising democracies in Africa are in fact tyrannies .Can the U.S call Obasanjo's regime democratic?

Ivy says that you have to very rich to get to the top of American politics. There's some agreement from the audience, but they make the point that it's no different in many countries across the world.

Betty from Kenya,

Sometimes i wonder about america's intentions as far democracy is concerned. look at the mess they have been involved in in the middle east


Americans don't believe in the existence of democracy.Our son Obama is taking advantage of it.

Samuel B. Togba. Mon. Liberia.

America can't succeed in exporting Democracy because she's racist in nature.

Jude, Lagos:

Democracy indeed is dead in America because words have failed to match deeds. America wishes democracy but wills otherwise.See how many democratic institutions it is sustaining in the Mid East.

Kokonya (a Kenyan in South Sudan)

America is busy exporting her Democratic Ideals she rarely believes in. President Bush's 1st Election to office was suspect & controversial! Democracy should be consultative not forced down people's throats! With Poverty everywhere in Africa, Democracy cannot Thrive!

The audience was asked if ANYONE can make it to the top in America? And citing Truman and Clinton most of the audience say yes.

Lereia's from Jamaica where Portia Simpson Millers is the Prime Minister - she thinks that women can make it to top as long as they get the right support. Women can be leaders just as much as men.

Veronique in Switzerland thinks that it's much harder for women to make it to the top for women.

Chriss in the audience, was the first female speech writer for a president of the USA and says that while change was slow it is happening.


Come on now! if anyone can be president then we would have had a woman president in the us ages ago. may i remind you that wimbledon has only just started paying women as much as men! thats how poorly women are perceived.


A poor person makes a bad leader. He has a myopic view of things and will be challenged in matters of financial integrity in the course of work.

Dermot in Surrey:

How can America claim to be democratic and operate Guantanamo Bay?

Henry, Nigeria:

you cant export democracy. it's culture specific. That is why there is such high failure rate of American style democracy round the world.

Jenny in london says..

Women do have to put more into their work... Men do less but make sure everyone knows about what they have done! Women are more humble but it isn't a quality that gets you anywhere.


Democracy? Ye! To regulate, yes? No? Decenterlise, yes? No?


Hi Boston, I'm a medical student, and sadly because I'm a girl I can only become a pediatric or gynecologist, but a surgeon?! Noooooooooo!

The audience asked if our callers, Veronique in Switzerland and Lereia in Jamaica, if they think women should be contributing economically, in the household. Both say yes.

Here's some more texts

Nnamdi from Nigeria:

Women are good managers. We should support them any time any day.


Women who make more money than their male counterparts tend to be unpleasant to their partners because of their partner's income.

Hi! I'm Bora from Cambodia.
There is a thought that women are too sensitive. Therefore, they can not be leaders. Is that true?

Kokonya, Kenyan in Sudan

The USA doesn't just welcome immigrants for free. They have interests in Professionals more often. Democracy must be home grown.

Kokonya (a Kenyan in South Sudan)

America is busy exporting her Democratic Ideals she rarely believes in. President Bush's 1st Election to office was suspect & controversial! Democracy should be consultative not forced down people's throats! With Poverty everywhere in Africa, Democracy cannot Thrive!

I am an American mom in Cyprus. Valerie:
Democracies in europe help women w better maternity leave and financial support that you will not in the u.s. Family life is important in policy making.

Abdulla, Chennai India

America may be democratic but when it comes to its foreign policy with its double-standard & big-brother attitude America is exporting only DEMOCKRACY..!?

I am Moses of makerere university in uganda.
I have disapprove this idea of exporting democracy to Africa just because is through in there polices


Why should the power of Democracy or any kind of Govt.be measured by monetary strenght & not morality & integrity?

Hi! I'm Bora again from Cambodia:

I have one question. What are the solutions which can change the perception of the women to encourage themselves in getting high position?

YUSUF from Nigeria

It is quite clear that the US is a role model for any up coming democracy i do not think exporting it is justifyable.

Mathilde Stuart

Women can do any job as well as men, they just have to understand and accept that they cannot have it both ways, profession / carreer and family dont go together, one side will always suffer.


Any woman in trouble with a husband over work, why hesitate, try me?

As a final question to the audience Ros asked if they thought affirmative action for women would work. Only two hands went up.

Have a great weekend, see you on Monday.


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