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In the western world the theory that democracy is far and away the best form of government is generally accepted; but sometimes wonder how many people stop and think just what the word really means?
Our ideal democracy encompasses the political situation in which every person over a certain age as a vote; this vote is used to elect a representative on a legislative body who in turn votes for or against changes to the law or other governmental matters, in accordance with his or her own good judgement. We are all aware of course that the reality is entirely different! In a true democracy people would vote for a particular candidate whose views most closely resembles those of the voters; in practice most voters plumped for the candidate who represents a favoured political party. The political parties are run by leaders who are, at least in theory, elected into their positions by a variety of procedures because they are reckoned to be the best people for the task. In practice the leaders of any political party, fine people though they may be, are only too often those who have sufficient financial resources to be to fund the very expensive jamborees which are necessary in order to drum up the support of the populus. Since that these leaders are then able to place their own chosen ones in positions of considerable power they then have a great deal of influence upon the way in which their country is governed, whether or not their views on how this should be done coincide with those of the voters.
Is this democracy? Or an elective dictatorship?
It could well be questioned, also, by the government by the mass of the people is even a desirable thing. Many of the most powerful and stable governments in the past have had a single leader who has been able to make decisions and carry those decisions through; a huge weakness of the democratic process is that the elected representatives, in most cases, have no other way of making a living outside politics and therefore have a vested interest in ensuring that their own particular party is the majority one after the next election and that they themselves are re-elected and so can continue to draw their salaries and expenses. An entirely disproportionate amount of time is therefore spent poring over popularity polls which means that too many decisions can be made based upon the likelihood of reelection rather than the good of the country at large.
Direct government of the people by the people sounds very nice but it simply doesn't exist. If it did exist the danger would be that we could return to a system of mob rule, similar to the days when Socrates was forced to kill himself because he just happened to disagree with the views of the Athenian population. If the party system could be demolished and people could then vote for the most suitable candidates, regardless of their political leanings or financial standing, then perhaps we could have a true ideal democracy but we are a long way from that situation today.