A social order aiming at the greatest
the available welfare of the whole population
and not for a class. George Bernard Shaw
Democracy is a universal panacea, the best political system of any and every society. It is a form of government by the elected representatives of the masses. Today, nearly every country across the globe claims to be democratic or is on the way to becoming a democracy.
“My political ideal is democracy.
Everyone should be respected as an
individual, but no one idolized.” Albert Einstein
Historically speaking, democracy is the modern type of government where people are not discriminated on the basis of religion, sex, caste, community and political consideration. Literally, the word democracy originated from the Greek word “Demos” which means the people and “Gratia” meaning government. So it means the government of the people. All the political philosophers have always shown great interest in this idea since the time Aristotle wrote his “Politics”.
“Democracy means the government of the people, by the people, for the people.” Abraham Lincoln
The democratic form of government is based on the willing consent of the people. General will of the people and not force of any kind is the basis of the state. Democracy is a sort of mechanism through which general will of the public is expressed. Democracy is the best form of government as it is stable and enduring due to huge public support. The state also recognizes the personality of every individual. The state is not superior to the citizens who compose it. The people in the democratic state are not like “dumb driven cattle”. They are always active citizens who take great interest in the affairs of the state. The force of the people is greater than the will of the government.
This definition clearly shows that, in this form of government, people are supreme. The ultimate power is in their hands. They exercise it in the form of electing their representatives at the time of elections. In modern times, this type of government which is representative in nature is most suitable. The other type of democracy is the direct democracy in which the people themselves enact and run the administration. As countries are large and their populations huge, this sort of democracy is no more feasible. In a country like Switzerland, which has the comparatively small population, direct democracy can still be found.
Democracy cannot be safe anywhere until it is safe everywhere. Ralph Waldo
The future of United States democracy seems quite bright. During the past sixty-five years, there have been regular elections to the parliament and state legislatures. This reflects the constant progress and maturity of democracy in the country. With the passage of time, United States voters have become more assertive and active as regards their participation in the process of democracy. The turnout of the voters has considerably increased during the recent elections of local governments. This phenomenon reflects the growing political awareness and maturity of the public. This obvious development has made the various political parties more conscious of their responsibility and accountability to the public.
In the absence of political parties, we cannot think of smooth and effective functioning of a democracy. These political parties are the very life-blood of our democracy. There is the number of national, religious and regional political parties in United States. These parties always play a very significant role in the election and in the formation of a government. The political parties, in opposition to the government, exercise certain checks in the forms of criticism, protest, and boycott, etc. These checks ensure that the government must not degenerate into the dictatorship. They criticise the government policies in a democratic and constructive spirit. In this way, they preserve and further strengthen national integration, unity, liberty and the basic rights of the people.
“If you want to understand democracy,
spend less time in the library with Plato
and more time in the buses with people.” Strunsky
Democracy is a government that is run by all the people and run down by some of them. Thomas Jefferson
Different political parties may have different ideologies but they all aim at the welfare of the people and the good of the country. The party system in our country has been a great factor in giving meaning and life to democracy. With the passage of time, a new healthy relationship has developed between the ruling party and the opposition. The same sort of relation has also developed between the public and the political parties. Obviously, democracy is not a one-sided game and it needs two or more players in the form of ruling party, the opposition and the electorate.
There are surely some charges against democracy made by the supporters of dictatorship. Firstly, democracy is the large group of incompetent and ignorant people. It is just like a mob rule or the mobocracy. It leads to the despotism of majority and helplessness of minority.
Democratic quality is a monstrous fiction. Burke
Secondly, it is a corrupt form of government because the majority in power can do anything fair or foul without any check. Thirdly, it involves divided leadership and divided consent of the public. That is why it cannot make speedy decisions during some emergency. Fourthly, it demoralizes the people. Power is misused for the achievement of selfish ends. Corruption and favoritism become common in society. Fifthly, the supporters of dictatorship believe in the slogan.
“One nation, one party, one leader.”
They argue that dictators like Hitler, Mussolini, and Stalin were the leaders of well organized political parties and were liked and loved by millions of people. They used to believe in the idea.
“Nothing against the state, everything for the state, nothing outside the state.”
The devil was the first Democrat. Byron
But we all know that dictatorship crushes personal liberty. Ballots are usually replaced by the bullets. The glorification of war is the motto of dictatorship. Both the world wars were caused by the dictators. But every form of government is good provided that it suits the temperaments, customs and traditions of the people in a particular state and in particular conditions. So, this flight of arguments is a never-ending line, but the majority believes that what democracy can provide, is not available in the dictatorship.
The spirit of democracy in our country is deep-rooted and all-pervading. It has stood the test of time all these years and faced many challenges. Still, there are many challenges before our democracy, namely communalism, separatism, casteism, terrorism, mobocracy, and illiteracy, etc. Therefore, we have to be very vigilant and alert about it. If we want to make the democratic system successful, we will have to be extremely tolerant people. We must have proper regard for the others point of view because the difference of opinion is one of the essentials of democracy.
“The most important principle of
democracy is that even a wrong guy has
rights.” Winston, Churchill
Notwithstanding the various strains, stresses, threats, and challenges posed by the hostile forces, the foundations of democracy are well-laid and strong. The fair and free elections, an independent judiciary, enlightened voters, nationalistic political parties and the guaranteed fundamental rights can ensure a bright future for democracy.