When we think of democracy, most of us imagine a system of government that involves the people voting for their elected representatives and directly participating in policy making. Democracy is much more than this, though. It also refers to the principles of law and order that are at the heart of any modern society. To be considered democratic, the rules of a society must guarantee that all citizens are treated fairly and with respect and that no one has unchecked power over another.
The word ‘democracy’ derives from the Greek words ‘demos’ (the people) and ‘kratia’ (rule). It is a concept that encompasses both processes of democracy and real democratic power – or, as it was once said, “democracy in process and democracy in will.” Throughout history, struggles for a more functional democracy have normally focused on either one or the other aspect of the idea.
Democracy cannot function unless all citizens are willing to participate actively. That participation may involve voting, protesting, or running for office. It should always be peaceful, respectful of the rights of others, and tolerant of the different views of other people and groups. It is important to understand that no one has the right to use violence against any political opponent.
In addition, a democracy must ensure that elections are free and fair. It must also ensure that officials who take on public office do not extend their terms in office without asking for the consent of voters again through a vote, and that they must be removed from office after serving a certain number of years. It must also guarantee that anyone accused of a crime has the right to a public trial by impartial courts and judges.
Finally, a democracy must protect itself from external threats. In a modern world, such threats may come in the form of foreign interference or of corruption by politicians and other officials. To combat these threats, a democracy must develop a mechanism to allow it to self-correct and restore its own democratic values.
Democracy is a dynamic concept that will continue to change and grow. As long as we can recognize that it is a process of arbitrating conflicting components of society, we can preserve its value and make it more functional.
If we want a more effective democracy, we should focus on improving the democratic process and giving more real power to the people. The best way to achieve this is through a multi-party system in which the parties are required to reach agreement on policy issues before proceeding to an election. This will help to prevent extremist views from forming and create more balance in the democratic process. It will also enable more of the population to participate in politics and give a greater voice to their concerns. In a multi-party system, the people will also be able to judge the quality of candidates, and make decisions based on merit rather than on party affiliation.