Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Elections Do Not Make Democracy

Excerpted from the article of the same name in The Globalist.

"Free and fair elections are a necessary, but not sufficient condition of democracy.

  • First, a society must have in place or intend to build institutions that allow its citizens on a daily basis to participate in all aspects of the political process.
  • Second, a democratic society must guarantee that all people are equal before the law. That, in turn, demands an independent and apolitical judiciary.
  • Third, a true democracy acknowledges and respects all cultural, ethnic or religious differences that may exist within its borders.
  • Fourth, freedom of opinion without fearing repercussions from those who have been elected is also critical.

Of course, there is also the true purpose of government, i.e. to do its best to sustainably, responsibly and transparently serve the people in an effort to improve their standards of living in an equitable manner.

In other words, holding elections in a democratic void can easily lead to outcomes that might in the end undermine the goal of achieving democracy itself".

If those who wish to increase democracy in the world would concentrate on those issues instead of elections, democracy might stand a chance.  There are a lot of countries where voting takes place but there is no democracy.  Even the USSR had elections.

And simply winning a majority does not give licence to do as one pleases until the next election (Canada's Harper notwithstanding).  Nor does "one MAN, one vote, once", the so-called Islamist democracy take the wishes and needs of the people into account.

Democracy, government of, by and for, requires that the people participate.  Things get done by those who show up and if "the People" don't "show up", are happy to be ignorant, ill-informed, mis-informed or down right lied to, then the government will serve other than the people.

Religion makes it even worse. 

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