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Democracy Essay

1320 words - 5 pages

In some nations, if you asked the people what they are most proud of about their own country, they might tell you about art, or architecture, great literary works, or the natural beauty of the land. But here in America, one of the things we are most proud of is our system of government. Being a democracy. The freedom to chose our own leaders. It’s ironic that the thing we are most proud of is not strictly true. We are not a direct democracy, in pure form, as Richard Parker points out. We are a Republic. What is the difference? To give a silly example from every day life, say you have a group of five people and it’s lunchtime. Where will they go for lunch? Well this IS America, and we do so love our democracy, so the group will vote. Who wants to go to McDonald’s? Three hands go up. The majority rules, the group goes to McDonald’s. This is our ideal, but it is not technically the way it works in politics. A more realistic version? Who wants to go to McDonald’s? Three hands go up. However, John is the official representative of the group, and he thinks The Tofu House is a better choice for the group. The Tofu House it is.
Richard Parker suggests that it is time to reevaluate our system of indirect democracy, and move towards a system of mass participation of the people and voting directly without the discretion of a “middle-man”, such as the Electoral College, ultimately weighing in with more power than the majority’s vote. Our textbook points out, the Electoral College was created at the same time as the Constitution, and at that time, there may have been some practical reasons for creating it. There was no competent form of mass media, and therefore no way for the general public to gain information about candidates from other states. Without knowledge of any other candidates but those from their own states, it would have been very hard for any candidate to win a national majority of votes. Times have changed, and the American public is much better equip to seek out and receive information. Our Electoral College System, however, remains largely outdated. Although it is popularly understood that members of the Electoral College will vote for the candidate the majority of those they are to be representing voted for, “penalties for faithless electors are practically nonexistent, and occasionally electors have opted not to vote for the candidate to whom they were committed.” (O’Connor, Sabato, 426). Just look at the 2000 election.
Parker makes three main arguments in his article. First, he state that mass political participation without any other considerations will be good for people and the county, in and of itself. The argument against this ideal is that “[members of the political elite] know better, and, so they and their ilk should “lead”- be the “spokesmen” or “advocates” for- ordinary people.” (Parker, 310). This implies that ordinary people are not smart enough or do not have well enough values to make their own decisions. Parker argues for...

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