Democracy in America Needs to Be More Inclusive and Resilient to Long-Term Threats

democracy in america

Democracy is the most popular political system in the world. It has brought many countries to economic prosperity and ushered in globalization and human rights. But the democratic experiment is not without flaws that have been exploited by dictators and authoritarian regimes. In the current political climate, the US must conduct soul-searching about its democracy and consider how it can become more inclusive and resilient to long-term, structural threats.

For Tocqueville, the key to understanding democracy lay in what he called civil society. Civil association in democratic societies is the wellspring of a shared sense of contingency, he believed. It interrupts certainties, impels people to question what they think they know, and gives them a glimpse of a world in which things could be other than they are presently.

Tocqueville saw that in democratic America civil associations did not just counter political despotism by placing a limit, in the name of equality, upon the power of government itself. They also spread a passion for the equalization of power, property and status among citizens, and taught them that these inequalities are not inevitable or God-given.

It is this radical sensitivity to contingency that enables democracy to prevent its own slide into tyranny by encouraging suspicion of the prevailing order of power, he believed. It teaches the privileged classes that they are not immune from pervasive distrust because a world in which power relations change constantly forces them to keep an eye on their own actions and those of their representatives.

Sadly, today’s democracy in the US is severely weakened by long-term problems like money politics, identity politics and wrangling between political parties. They have eroded the social norms that are normally used to curb antidemocratic behavior and weakened the legal net beneath.

If these long-term problems are not addressed, the acute threats to democracy will metastasize. To do that, we must build visions for the future lived experience of Americans in ways that diffuse hardened polarization with ideas that elevate shared desires while diminishing the influence of extremist communities supporting violence.

It is especially crucial to understand how the authoritarian movement cultivates a story that puts men, Christians and white people at the top of a status hierarchy. Writing off those at the bottom of this hierarchy simply pushes them together, and we must reach out to those in those communities who are more open to democratic values. This is why it is so important to encourage deliberative democracy exercises and support organizations that are trusted by marginalized groups who are willing to speak in favor of inclusion and against violence. It will take a lot of work and courage, but the reward will be a stronger, more robust democracy that can better resist long-term structural threats.

The Definition of Freedom


Freedom is an essential part of any society. It allows us to pursue our aspirations and makes it possible for people to live without fear. However, there are several different definitions of freedom and how we think about it changes the way we use it. For example, some people think that freedom only means a lack of restrictions while others believe that it is more than just a lack of restrictions. In fact, many people believe that freedom has to do with the way a person uses their freedom and how they treat other people.

The idea of freedom is a fundamental one and is found in all cultures throughout the world. It is used in the political realm in terms of democracy versus dictatorship, and it is also seen in the context of civil rights and the notion that people of all races, religions, genders, social classes and ideologies should be free. Freedom is also seen in the economic realm, and it refers to free markets, owning private property and being able to move around the country as one chooses.

In the philosophical realm, philosophers such as Immanuel Kant have made it a point to differentiate the concept of freedom and how it is defined. The idea of freedom has multiple meanings ranging from the transcendental notion of freedom as being the natural right of every human being to the concept of freedom that is based on moral law (Einheitliches Recht).

Kant also notes how the definition of freedom can change according to one’s perspective. In his Critique of Pure Reason, Kant points out that the meaning of freedom is relative. For instance, a man can think of himself as being free from jealousy or being free from an attachment to dogma, but these types of freedoms do not actually exist. The real freedom exists in the ability to see something new and not cling to the old.

The most common perception of freedom is that it is a state in which a person can do whatever they want without restraint or restriction. This can be a physical state such as when a person is not tethered to an object or the ground or it can be a psychological state of not having any ties or expectations to someone else.

In reality, no one can be completely free from something as there is always a constraint that exists. Whether this constraint is moral, legal, psychological or physically imposed depends on how an individual deals with it. Therefore, the true definition of freedom is how an individual tries to discipline themselves to not be swayed by these constraints and use their own free will. Using their own free will, they try to achieve their aspirations in an honest and responsible manner. This also includes protecting the freedom of other people, as those who do not understand this concept will impose on the rights and freedoms of others. This is why it is so important to teach students what freedom really means.