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"What Is Democracy" This Is An Essay Written About Democracy. It A Reaction Of An Average Person As To What Democracy Means To Them. This Is Not A Step By Step Definition Of The Political System

1354 words - 5 pages

The claims of superiority, often evident in the attitudes and actions of the west, is based on their acceptance of democracy and the ideals which it suggests. Democracy is the fundamental basis that western countries use to claim themselves superior to other countries in the world. Western countries believe that democracy is the only fair form of government and are often critical of countries that have different forms of government. One of the ironies of these facts is that most citizens of democratic countries do not know what the word democracy means and what it represents. "A citizen of America will cross the ocean to fight for democracy, but wont cross the street to vote in a national election." Bill VaughanThe Oxford dictionary defines democracy as government by the people, direct or representative. In Canada we have a representative democracy that allows us to pick our political leaders, but because of the laws and institutions that are in place it is unlikely that we will ever have a "pure" form of democracy. Some of the important questions, which all Canadians need to ask themselves, include those at the heart of this essay: Why do we call ourselves a democracy, do we only have democratic rights every four years when we are asked to vote? When we chose those who will represent us do we have any control over their actions after they are in power? What possible means do the people have in controlling politicians and government decisions? These and other questions need to be addressed in order to determine the nature of our democracy and perhaps our attitudes toward it.Representation is an essential element of modern democracy. In comparing populations of modern countries to the 5th century B.C.E. city-state of Athens, where the first democracy originated, the first difficulty encountered by modern democracy becomes clear. The citizen assembly in Athens was the most innovative and important idea in the development of democratic politics. The small population of Athens, however, allowed for a gathering of all men over the age of 18. Modern cities and states could never gather all men and women over 18 in one area to discuss and vote on every aspect of a political agenda. The modern solution, representative democracy, ensures that one person who voices the opinions of the majority represents a large number of people in the government. Unfortunately in modern politics this does not usually work the way it was intended to. In theory representative democracy is a logical and practical way to deal with large populations and limited time. But with political corruption being a widespread problem, the voice of the majority is not always heard and their interests are not always fought for. Instead our political system is corrupted by influence and alliances and this is one of the principle reasons why modern western countries will never have a pure form of democracy. During the Golden Age of Athens, democracy was the prided of all Athenians and they...

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