Monthly Supporters

Democratic Demise

Chapter 20
Free Expression Of Ideas, But No Voice (268)
As quoted by Griffin (268), Deetz states, “The combination of belief in “reality” and cynicism is disastrous for a democracy. The belief that all claims are merely opinions is used to stop discussions rather than start them.”
This quote especially resonated with me, considering the big election coming up in November. Deetz focuses on corporate communication practices, but this idea can be applied to any kind of democracy.
Griffin uses this quote to highlight the importance of not only freedom of expression, but also the right to have a voice, being equally as important. Deetz thought that the emphasis was too heavily weighted on the first notion and not enough on the latter. People need to believe that their voice has purpose and will actually make a difference in the ultimate outcome. If having a voice is not effective, and considered a “mere opinion,” there is no point, and that democracy will surely fail. The foundation of a democracy is that we all have an equal voice, and freedom to express that voice, but more importantly that it be put to use and action. “People won't have a voice if they regard communication as the transmission of information” (Griffin, 268). If “reality” proves this time and time again, it is no wonder that people would be cynical about the process of a democracy; not to say all democracies are this way. Whether in business, personal or political affairs, having an effective voice is crucial for all parties involved, the establishment upholding these rights, and the people utilizing them.


  1. Your interpretation to Deetz quote was not only patriotic but inspirational. You are completely right when you refer to the right to have a voice, being equally as important. If we had too much cynicism people wouldn’t show up to vote. They would take the attitude of why waste my time when it won’t make a difference. The election in November and the economic crisis will definitely have an impact on voter turn out. People will see that they do have a voice and it will be heard and democracy will take place in November. No matter what the outcome the people of the USA will demonstrate a desire for change from the amount that show up to vote.

  2. I agree Deetz's quote can be applied to any democracy. Speaking out is an essential part of the democratic process at the national and organizational levels. Questioning leaders is not unpatriotic or anti-organization--it's a legitimate part of participating in a democracy. Still, in the organizational context, speaking out can get you fired, because the rules in an organization are not the same as the rules in a democratic society. Free speech only protects you against government attempts to prohibit speech.

  3. When you think about how big our country is and the amount of voters it is easy to think that your vote doesn't count. I think this is the first election that will really affect every citizen. I really appreciate what you had to say.