What is Democracy?
Democracy, and a democratic governing body, is something which most countries strive for. It involves accountability (where the government, or a representative, has to be responsible for their actions) and independent sources of information where different political beliefs are tolerated. Government decisions should also be able to be influence by the people as to prevent a ‘tyranny of the majority’ – which basically means to stop those who are in the majority in an opinion on something should not overrule those who are in the minority without balanced debate and negotiation. But, all in all, it is about the people, and as Abraham Lincoln once put it, it is:
“Government of the people, by the people, for the people”
How democratic is America?
Some say not enough and this encompasses the idea of elitism where groups and individuals are able to dominate the issue at hand in an unfair way. An example of this could be seen by the way ‘American Crossroads’, an influential Republican SuperPAC (something I shall discuss in a later post), contributed half of the total expenditure of the 2010 Mid Term Elections. This could, therefore, have been one of the key reasons why the Democrats lost at the election with the Republicans gaining 63 seats in the House of Representatives and 6 senate seats.
Others would argue that civil liberties and individual freedoms mean people have the right to spend as much money as they like for a cause – as that is democracy. But, we must remember that democracy is about power-sharing and not dictatorship. In this way, democracy should, in essence, be a theory of pluralism, where many views can be aggregated before reaching a consensus. A good example of this would be when groups use amicus curiae briefings (another topic that shall be brought up in a later post) to address the courts; most notably the Bollinger Case had 100 of such briefings filed!
But, as democracy involves ‘the people’, the debate is whether you think America is democratic. What are your thoughts? We will be talking about the democratic nature of other countries, so bear with us and if you have any suggestions please do contact me