Our Democracy in Action

image of democracy in action Though there’s a faction of the American people who rail against the government, Americans routinely praise our democracy as the most just form of government. Of course, a simple democracy leaves many people out in the cold (propositions are all or nothing affairs, and someone always opposes a bill). What people really mean when they criticize our government is that it’s not always fair. It’s a simple and routine matter for the desires of the minority to go unmet because they’re not shared by the majority. And the majority rules. And when Americans praise our democracy as the most fair form of government in the world, they really mean that we Americans are free from tyranny, we have regular and independent elections, and the U.S. government protects the rights of her citizens, including when rights have been infringed going so far as to recover those rights. We are free to put democracy in action, and we are great insofar as we do.
image of democracy in action
When the Founding Fathers sought to break ties with England, one of the straws that broke the camel’s back was the lack of representation. There was no one to lobby for their particular needs and desires. So they made sure that our own government includes constituent representation. I’ve often heard it asked why we have an electoral college and representatives rather than a straight-democratic rule, whereby laws and measures would be brought directly before the people. We are a democratic republic because the Founding Fathers feared that the common folk would be swayed by mob rule (which they feared could be just as tyrannical as rule by monarchy), whereas the representatives would be well-educated and able to understand the nature of the problems facing the nation in ways those who hadn’t been educated could not. It smacks somewhat of elitism today, but I don’t think anyone would wish that someone who didn’t understand the issues at hand would be making policy decisions.

That’s why it is so important to educate ourselves on our government system and on the ways we can ensure it runs smoothly and justly.

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