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the most advanced form of government in the world today is the system of democracy.
Democracy is the system in
which all members of society, mindless of race, color or creed have a direct or indirect
say in the political decisions that may affect a governing body.
Partipatory democracy, in
which political decisions are made by the citizenry meeting together, has been superseded
by representative democracy, under which the populace elects the members of any
decision-making body through a process called voting. Voting enables each individual
involved to choose the representative they feel most capable for the task at hand.
Democracy is an ever-evolving
process. Historically, the portion of the populace that is permitted to participate in the
voting process has expanded over time as racial, sexual and religious restrictions are
redefined or are altogether removed. In this manner the involvement of the citizenry in
society grows and develops positively with each members position being given equal
weight and standing.
Many political theorists
argue that other rights besides voting are equally essential if a system is to be
considered democratic. Most important are the rights to freedom of speech, freedom of
press, freedom of assembly, freedom to organize politically and so on. The opinions of the
people must be given an outlet if they are to be more effectively heard. The concepts of
natural rights and political equality are expressed by such philosophers as John Locke in
the 17th century, and Voltaire and Rousseau in the 18th
The freedom with which
democracy endows its beneficiaries has a price. For every right that is bestowed upon the
citizenry, there is an equal amount of obligation attached. Each person must respect the
rights of the individual in order for their own individuality to be recognized. This
maintains a degree of esteem for the uniqueness of the human system.
The greatest duty however
that democracy demands is constant and unfaltering vigilance.
The ever-present danger of
misuse and the threat of abuse are perils that the citizenry must always guard against.
Constant protection and care is a task that we must undertake to preserve this treasure.
More often than not, such is the price of freedom.