The problem with democracy

24 November 2017

The problem with democracy

Democracy: it is the pinnacle of a free society, the ideal governing system for any nation. We enjoy it so much that we wish every other country could enjoy it; a government for the people, by the people. Democracy is the greatest system any nation could ask for … on paper.

In a democratic society, citizens are given the right to elect their representatives. Everyone gets a say in who should govern the country. But is democracy as functional as we think?

Although it goes without saying that a democracy is drastically better than a dictatorship, democracy tends to be more divisive than it is uniting. Division is, arguably, the last thing that a country should want within its governance system. However, the battling of parties and politicians, all attempting to better each other and climb their way to a seat of power intrinsically breeds conflict and malice.

While it is great that the people of a nation can choose who represents them, the fact that democracy is essentially a popularity contest may not be the ideal way of distributing power over an entire country.

Looking at the United States as an example, the 2016 Presidential Election, in which Republican nominee Donald Trump defeated Democratic nominee Hilary Clinton, has left the country in such a state of division that it reeks of a brewing civil war — the exact thing a democratic system hopes to avoid. When one side is unhappy with the person elected to office, naturally feelings of anger — and often hate — towards the winning side are what remain.

A system forcing an entire population to be categorised as either “left-wing” or “right-wing”, “pro-this” or “anti-that” is a system that essentially promotes conflict. You may believe that there is no other viable way to do democracy, or any other system that could work instead of democracy, and perhaps that is true. With such a large population, full of people with diverse backgrounds, ethnicities, families and values it may very well be impossible to keep absolutely everyone satisfied with the leadership of any given land.

However, democracy is a system with much room to improve. So long as we use terms like “left-wing” and “right-wing”, we will never be able to move forward and focus on the issues of genuine importance. Rather than improving the lives of all citizens, we are left feeling angry and bitter towards those who support a party or politician that took the seat from our candidate.

Rather than battling for power, we should be striving to work together to amend the many issues of genuine importance we face. Instead of fighting to elect politicians and parties whose motives and agendas may be no different than our own, we should be seeking to elect individuals who care about the health of our nations; individuals who are committed to a united system of government and working together through compromise and collaboration to attain the best outcome for any given situation. We should strive to discontinue the use of terms like “left-wing” and “right-wing” instead of trying to mould the other side to fit our values and agendas.

Am I proud to live in a democratic country? Absolutely. Could things be better? Yes. There is always room to improve and better ourselves as a nation. I wish for my country and its people to eventually be able to see past divisive political terms, and to see each other as fellow citizens of the same nation, all just wanting the best for our country.