Oliver Wilde famously stated that “ democracy is the bludgeoning of the people by the people for the people” and this quote somewhat signifies the democratic process. In true form, democracy is a type of government that is unique and designed to do away with supreme control of just one ruler. This is done by putting the supreme power in the hands of the general public. It is supposed to be the people that have the actual say. Democracy is what the current government in the United States is founded on. Getting a full grasp on the any democratic system entails can be a bit complex, but it is possible to gain a better understanding.
What Are the Pros of Democracy?
Democracy is a political system that is unique in form and designed to give people the power. This brings about both positives and negatives. However, the positive aspects of democracy have the power to be incredibly transformative.
1. Sense of Involvement
One of the major pros of democracy is that it gives people a sense of involvement that is not felt in other political systems. When people have the power to vote and effect certain laws and decisions it makes them feel like an active part in society. This means that people have a say in what becomes policy and this can breed a feeling of being one that is needed for any society to thrive. Giving people the power to feel involved and included is something that can have a huge impact.
2. Policy Change
Perhaps the biggest pro of democracy is the ability to bring about change. Since people have the power to elect who is in power, they also have the power to make changes to the system when they feel they are needed. They elect new officials into office that are wiling to make the changes that they agree with. These changes to government can come without violence, which is a major difference to how change was made in the past. Power is transferred from one party to another party through election and no violence or unrest occurs. This means that government is only bound in power by terms and these terms are separated into 4 year increments. Change is constant and the ruling party must work for the people or it is likely not voted back into power. Ruling over the people is only done through the authority given by the people, which is unique and allows for a political system that does not take advantage of the power given.
3. Obligation to Citizens
It is also a benefit to have a democracy to enable feeling of obligation to the public to motivate the ruling power. Those government officials that are elected into power have a duty and obligation to the citizens that voted them into their position. This means that the public is who governing offices owe their success to and who they should be indebted to in a certain degree. This motivation can help them work toward the goals and policies that they were elected to promote.
4. People Have a Say
This is the one form of government where the public actually holds the power and has an opinion that matters. The sense of participation that democracy evokes allows for feelings of patriotism and pride that are not always seen in other counties with differing political systems. Democracy gives people a say and it puts the power in their hands.
What Are The Cons of Democracy?
Even though democracy is usually spoken about fondly not everything about this political system is completely positive. There are a few downsides to democracy that some sweep under the rug. However, it is time to take a closer look at the cons of democracy and what impact they have.
1. Lack of Knowledge
In a democratic system it is the people that have the power and elect officials into office that reform policy. The downside to this is that the public is often not informed on political issues in the way that they should be. This means that many of the people with voting power are not as knowledgeable about relevant issues as is needed. Giving power to people that are not informed is not always ideal. Common masses sometimes lack understanding of issues in society and make the wrong choices during election.
Another downside to democracy is the ability for mobs to still have influence. Even though people are the ones voting, it can still lead to mob influence deciding the vote. Many people can be influenced by others and sometimes political officials make claims to simply win elections rather than work for the people. The spotlight gets put on elections and not the policies that need to be changed.
3. Shortfalls Are Unavoidable
The biggest thing to remember about democracy is that it is not perfect. Every political system that has ever been in place is not without flaws. This means that democracy is not a perfect system and when different people have different views it is bound to be complicated. Since the elected officials are only in power for short terms, this can also lead to a political system that has short-term focus and is not working for the betterment of society long-term.
What Does Democracy Actually Mean?
Before you learn about the positive and negative aspects surrounding democracy, it is important to start off by taking a closer look at the meaning of this term. Democracy is often defined as a political system that gives ultimate power to the people by allowing them to elect representation. This means that the vote of the public is what matters. Those that are for democratic systems are essentially in line with allowing the government to be decided by the elected representatives that are put into office by the public. Although democracy is often talked about in broad terms, it is possible to break down what democracy actually entails.
Two Different Types of Democracy
There are actually more than just one type of democracy. These types of democracy are known as direct or representative. Direct democracy is the system in which people are actually involved themselves in the law making process. It is the people who decide what laws should be in place and how they should be enforced. Representative democracy is a bit different and involves the people electing officials to power that decide the laws. When you are talking about the political system that is in place in the United States it is a representative democracy that you are referring to.
Is Democracy Good or Bad?
Giving any political system a label can be difficult. Democracy is a bit complex and determining if it is good or bad depends on a variety of factors. The best way to come to a reasonable conclusion on democracy is to weigh the pros and cons against one another. Taking a look at democracy from both sides gives you a unique perspective. It is also important to compare democracy to other political systems when you are looking to evaluate it fully. It often comes down to how much democratic power is actually placed in the hands of the people.