Wednesday, June 6, 2012
Democracy: Rumors of my Death are Greatly Exaggerated
Yet again, the "Death of Democracy" has been reported. If this is news to you, or if you were tending to agree, then this post is for you. You need to undertand what democracy is, and how it is unlikely to ever die. And finally, why its death would be really meaningless to most of us.
What is Democracy?
Here is a pertinent extract from wikipedia: "form of government in which all the citizens determine public policy, the laws and the actions of their state, requiring that all citizens (meeting certain qualifications) have an equal opportunity to express their opinion."
In this form of government, each law, ordinance, and expenditure would be taken to a public ballet. There would be weekly or daily elections, where all of the legislative activity would be put to a vote, and the popular vote would make the decisions for the community, county, state, and nation. When I was a child, we made decisions like this all of the time. My circle of friends, (we would actually be in a rough circle), and we would use the raise of hands to make a choice of whether to go do something like hunt frogs, or hang out around the arcade.
Strangely enough, sometimes a person in the minority would revolt, and not agree to follow the majority. And half the time, the majority would shift and decide to follow the minority. Eventually, one person or a small group of people would become leaders. And most pople would wait to vote until hearing how they were going to vote.
This is democracy, we all have a vote. We all participate in make a decision. And people that are too lazy to think about the issues, follow someone else and add their voice to theirs.
Will Democracy ever Die?
Okay lets be more specific. Heck No!
It is impossible for democracy to die. It is the basis for so many things that you just can't kill it. And if you figured out how to do it, it would just pop back up in a new form. Its a concept, not a life form.
Why the "Death of Democracy" would mean very little.
For most of us reading this blog, we are in America, or the USA. And we don't have democracy as our form of government.
Don't believe me? Well, when is the last time that you got to vote on the tax laws? Or traffic laws? Or any laws at the federal level?
How about state laws? (There are some ballot initiatives at state and local levels.) People vote for representatives that then vote and create laws. This is known as a republic, not democracy. It is a form of democracy in that the political power starts with people. It is not democracy because people only participate in a limited way.
Our representatives are supposed to represent the aggregate of their constituents. But they are also leaders. Where they do and pass things their constituents have never thought of or would think of doing if they had.
In this way, if democracy were to die, the impact on us would be small to non-existence.
One more thing:
Declaring that "Democracy is Dead" because more people voted for something that you didn't like only shows that you didn't really understand what democracy was in the first place.