How Does Democracy Work?
The first working democracy, as far as I know, was in Greece in 508 BC. The word comes from demos, the common people, and kratos, strength. The original model, direct democracy, had only eligible people that were allowed to speak or vote. This excluded women and slaves. But they made every decision by casting ballots (in their case, stones). Since then, a variety of changes have modified it, so that now we no longer have the original model. We have a representative democracy. We, the eligible voter that now includes women, and we no longer have slaves, elect representatives to govern us. These representatives, although voted in by us, are under no obligation to us, the electorate, to do what we want them to do. We can remove them from office for just cause, which is spelled out specifically in impeachment proceedings or recall elections, or we have to wait until the next election to vote them out. There are a variety of forms that have different details, such as a constitutional monarchy with a king or queen, but with an advisory body, the parliament, that can, if necessary, overrule the king. Mob rule is a kind of democracy, just not efficient, and often not just. Communism, if practiced as Marx thought it should be, is a kind of democracy ruled by the people that do the work, the proletariat. There are various criticisms of democracy. One of our founding fathers, Alexander Hamilton, thought that only those that had skin in the game were eligible voters and office holders which he understood to be land owners.
The reason that any government works is that the governed allow themselves to be governed. The majority decides, but sometimes the majority margin is very slim. Is it fair that 50.001% make the decision for the other 49.999% who now have to obey? It is the tyranny of 0.001. That is what sets the scene for revolution and secession. We, the people, have to allow our rulers to rule!
We have an interesting proposition before us. A variety of people who have considerable power over us, a kind of aristocracy of our democracy, such as elected officials, prominent politicians who run for high office, people that have succeeded in business, are wealthy, have important jobs, are community leaders or famous entertainers and movie stars, who think that democracy should be all inclusive. Everyone should vote, illegal immigrants, imprisoned criminals, people with marginal intelligence and so on. We want a more inclusive society, they say. This would be a radical change from the past. Every form of democracy has had exclusions of who can be a citizen, and exercise those rights of citizenship. Who gets excluded has varied with the time of history, the country, and the philosophy of the people. However, it always had some sense that an individual had to earn the right, that it was not a birthright just because you had human DNA. I suppose the next progression is to have non humans voting.
The governed must give consent to be governed, and if those that govern are chosen by those that previously have been considered ineligible, it puts the whole system in question and at risk!
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