"Just because you don't take an interest in politics doesn't mean politics won't take an interest in you."
Pericles (495-425 BC)
His name meant "surrounded by glory." And he was. Pericles was a very respected statesman, orator and general in ancient Athens.
Pericles was also a proponent of education and was such a proponent of and participant in Athenian democracy that he was pejoratively called a "populist."
Athenian democracy demanded that citizens participate. And they did, in large percentages. Even still, the percentage of the population that actually participated in politics and voted was about 20%.
But to be a citizen was the key. Only males who had satisfied their military obligation could qualify. One could only be a citizen if both his parents had been citizens. Citizenship for any individual was determined by a vote of a quorum of 6000 other citizens who considered any male's qualifications.
If either parent was married to a foreigner citizenship was denied to the children.
ONLY CITIZENS COULD VOTE. And then only if there was no unsatisfied debt to the city of Athens. Therefore, there were no voting rights. The ability to vote was an appointment by the quorum! So, the interest and participation by those so appointed to vote in the political arena was essential to Athenian society. The voters actually determined the direction the gubment would take!
Hence the Periclean statement! If you didn't want to participate, or vote, or know what you were voting for or against, the politics of the city would certainly act on you! And you would be subjected to it.
SO, ONCE CITIZENSHIP AND THE VOTING APPOINTMENT WAS GRANTED, YOU WERE FREE TO ACT WITHIN THE SYSTEM, OR THE SYSTEM WOULD ACT ON YOU!
Citizens who participated probably numbered in the hundreds, not the thousands. Participants, then, knew what they were doing. They knew the issues and heard debates. They personally knew those running for office, or proposing certain laws.
There was no MORON VOTE! Nobody voted based on 30 second sound bites, or ads that used false or incomplete information. Nobody voted because of a debate where a "moderator" asked slanted questions designed to point a participant's answer in a certain direction to create unpopularity. Illegal residents of the society could not vote. Anyone without "skin in the game," to quote a phrase, could not vote. Those who vote for shallow reasons like "great hair" or "being cute" were simply not in the voting population!
Those running for office had to portray their ideas to thinking people, educated people, participating people and people who loved their city and society.
NOBODY VOTED BASED ON "WHAT THEY COULD GET" FROM THE PERSON THEY BACKED. ENTITLEMENT WAS NON EXISTENT. THERE WAS NO FREE LUNCH.
If you wanted your city, and society, to go in a particular direction, you voted. And Pericles, a popular statesman, wanted people to understand that. He was free to announce his positions, and was unafraid to propose them!
PERICLES WANTED TO SWAY ADULTS TO HIS POSITIONS AND HAVE ADULTS VOTE FOR HIM. He never heard the statement, "You are like our daddy and we are your children. What will you do for us?" PERICLES WOULDN'T KNOW HOW TO DEAL WITH THAT STATEMENT!
How far do you think he would get trying to appeal to our voters today?