The term democracy literally means rule by the people. The word originates from the Greek (demokratia) and is coined from two terms; Demos (people) and Kratos (rule) (New York Press, 2012). For several centuries, there has been an extensive discussion regarding issues related to democracy around the world. The main reason for this is because democracy is one of the issues that is constantly being altered and developed. Nevertheless, a good number of people from around the world can agree on some things related to democracy such as freedom of expression and press, freedom of opinion, equal rights and unbiased dignity of all people and holding free, credible and fair elections (Ceaser, 2015).
In a society that exercises democracy and holds free and fair elections, people who meets the qualification of being a voter can vote for the politicians and the party that they desire to represent them in making political decisions at the national, regional and local level (Canoll & Henry 2014). The parties or the politicians that are voted in by the majority of the people normally have the most significant say during the decision-making. Since the elected individuals represent the voters, this system can be referred to as representative democracy and it is the most common form of government in whole world. However, despite the fact the majority has the biggest say when making decisions on the governance matters, the minority also have rights that cannot be ignored (Canoll & Henry 2014). One of the fundamental pillars that supports democracy is the notion that human rights must be observed when power is exercised which means that the majority are restricted from oppressing the minority who may be having different opinions. In a democratic society everyone has the freedom to communicate their thoughts (New York Press, 2012).
The only effective means that a country’s inhabitants can use to influence the governance of their country is the General elections. The citizens must participate and be involved in the country’s democratic process so as for the democracy to work effectively (Canoll & Henry 2014). The more the people take part in general elections, the more strengthened the democracy becomes.
There are also other factors that reinforces democracy such as people participating in healthy discussions with colleagues concerning the political issues and also taking part in charities as this will allow them to express their ideas and point of view (Ceaser, 2015). However, democracy is not exercised fully only through participation in the elections. What happens between the elections is also largely sufficient for democracy to function. The most important thing in a democratic country is to make the inhabitants feel that they are part of the society and that their actions has an effect on the democracy. The individuals have to understand that taking part in general elections is also an opportunity to impact their day to day lives – at work, in the area they live and in school (Burrage, 2008).
The question of whether democracy is good or bad has been debated widely since the idea was first envisioned. Some people claim that a dictatorship always efficient and fast since the person who is deciding quickly forces a decision unlike in democracy where every person has the freedom to express their say mainly through an election (Bathory & Peter, 2010). It is only in some extreme incidences that those in charge can make quick decisions on their own in favor of efficiency and speed. There are numerous examples countries whose inhabitants have been terrorized and oppressed as a result of non-democratic forms of government. When a country is under dictatorship, people who have different opinions or inhabitants from a certain ethnic group can be attacked and put in concentration camps or in prison (Ceaser, 2015). It is evident from the history that people’s human rights and freedoms are best protected when a country exercises a democracy. It is also observed that peace prevails when inhabitants in different countries maintain contact and trade with one another.
Other key benefits citizens of a democratic country include the effective participation where members of the demos have the chance to express their views concerning a policy before it is adopted or rejected. There is also equality in voting and members of the demos have the freedom to vote for or against a party, politician or a policy and all votes are weighed equally (Bathory & Peter, 2010). In addition, people are given the opportunity to learn and get educated about different policies and also their consequences in the running of the government. Also, citizens have the control of the agendas which shows that a democratic country has open processes in that demos can alter the association policies any time. Citizens also enjoy numerous forms of freedom such as freedom of association, expression, free, fair and frequent elections (Burrage, 2008).
These benefits notwithstanding, democracy has been faced by several challenges such as inequality of resources in that some countries the democracy was not strictly regulated and it led to massive inequalities in terms of social status, education, wealth and income (Ceaser, 2015). Those people who had greater resources used it to influence the policies in the ways that favored them. Lastly, acts of terrorism has been experienced in democratic countries. For instance, the United States experienced attacks in September of 2001 where the World Trade Center was destroyed and some 3000 people killed. In response to that, several measures were made to allow the law enforcement agents protect their country against such attacks (Bathory & Peter, 2010).
The above points demonstrate that democracy is the best form of governance as it possesses a number of characteristics that a good number of people would consider desirable despite their basic political beliefs: – it fosters human development, democratic countries are more prosperous, vicious and cruel autocrats are prevented from ruling by the democracy lastly citizens of a democratic country are entitled to fundamental rights unlike in non-democratic countries. The degree of the democracy’s success in ensuring that it remains the best form of government will depend on how well it handles the new challenges undermining it.
Bathory, Peter Dennis (2010) “The Science of Politics and the Art of Ruling” In Leadership in America: Consensus, Corruption and Charisma, 11–37. New York: Longman
Burrage, Michael (2008) “On Tocqueville’s Notion of the Irresistibility of Democracy.” Archives 13, no. 1 : 151–75
In Liberty, Equality, Democracy (2012) 129–41, Eduardo Nolla, ed. New York: New York University Press,
Canoll, John W. Henry (2014). “The Authorship of Democracy in America.” Historical Magazine 8, no. 9: 332–33.
Ceaser, James (2015). “Alexis de Tocqueville on Political Science, Political Culture, and the Role of the Intellectual.” American Political Science Review 79, no. 3: 656–72.