The Arab Spring demonstrated a new level of civic participation in many non-democratic countries. Throughout Europe, young people have taken to the streets to protest against education fees, the power of big corporations, and the cutting of essential state services. In addition, trade unions have inspired citizens to take to the streets to protest economic cuts. The power of democratic participation should not be underestimated. But if we want to see a real change, we must start from our neighbourhoods.
While voting is a very important part of participation in democracy, there are many other ways that ordinary people can participate in society. The most visible ways of participating in government are standing for office and voting. But participation requires more than just voting to make a democracy function well. Modernization and tradition must be balanced and integrated. Opponents of modernization are just as much the enemy of democracy as those who support it. However, democracy only works when society recognizes unity and is able to accept change.
In order to create and maintain a successful democracy, a majority of the population must believe that the most popular government is the most efficient. In addition, majority participation in the form of pressure groups, civic initiatives, and consultative bodies is just as important as voting. Democracy depends on these types of participation and should be nurtured and strengthened to meet the new challenges. There are many different ways to participate in a democracy, but the key to its successful functioning is a plurality of voices.
A democracy must involve young people from birth and continue to evolve. It can help protect human rights and promote economic prosperity. It also allows democratic governments the time to make important changes. While voting is mandatory in Australia, this is not the case in other democratic countries. Not everyone is able to vote and their voices do not receive adequate representation. As a result, democracy is not a perfect solution. And it is important to remember that democracy must be inclusive and empowering for all citizens.
Modern societies have a conflict between the two faces of society. On the one hand, we have the liberal face, where the dominant values are the maximization of trade and the circulation of power, information, and money. On the other hand, there is the opposing image, where the human being resists market forces and appeals to subjectivity, the desire for individual freedom, and tradition. This is the basis for democratic thought. But how should we define democracy?
While democratic societies have always allowed all adults to participate in the political process, it should be noted that in the ancient world, women were excluded from voting in national elections until the early twentieth century. If we restrict participation in our democratic societies, we risk turning them into oligarchies and aristocracies. And that is why we must make sure that we don’t limit participation in the democratic process. For instance, our society should be able to grow into a democracy that is representative of the majority of our population.