What is the single most important thing about democracy? What is the one quintessential object that makes a democracy a true one.
“What is Democracy:
- A political system for choosing and replacing the government through free and fair elections.
2. The active participation of the people, as citizens, in politics and civic life.
3. Protection of the human rights of all citizens.
4. A rule of law, in which the laws and procedures apply equally to all citizens.”
(The above text taken form a great article What is Democracy?)
All of the above and add this to it for this is What democracy means to me.
1. Freedom of the Press
2. Power to Oppose
Today, for me and above all others, is the right to oppose the government. We in the West take this for granted and it is a given that we have a two party some times a three party system of opposition depending on the country of your choice. If people were allowed to hold their government to account without fear of persecution from the agents of a government then you a very good chance of having a true democracy.
For a democracy to flourish there has to be change in the people that run the government or we will end up with an oligarchy running it amok as is the case in a few countries out there that claim to be a democracy but are in fact nothing but a front for power that is so strongly held in such a small group of people hands that they think they are the only ones capable of running the country. They may have the best intentions of the country at heart but most of the time it becomes a corrupting influence on their souls and we end up with people that cannot be moved.
With the power of Drones about to impact us in the near future we have to make sure we protect the right of the opposition in democracies and when other countries move towards democracy they have this enshrined in their constitutions as importantly as they would value Human rights of the citizens.
It is very important that there be no restrictions on the formation of an opposition, and it should not be an “official” only opposition as that makes for the no choice at all for the people, as is the case in most modern democracy the people fully disconnected from their elected representatives.
For a democracy to thrive it has to have a mechanism for a transfer of power from one group of people to another with ease and with clarity and with decisiveness so there is no break in the level of governance.
Protect the right of the opposition and you defend the right to a democracy.