Various pundits around the world will likely editorialize and otherwise communicate their opinions about democracy more than usual today. The United Nations sanctioned International Day of Democracy is a time to review the state of democracy. The intent is to promote the viability and availability of democracy to everyone in the world. The stated goals are to promote and protect freedom and human rights in conjunction with the principle of periodic, genuine elections by all citizens.
When pondering the concept of democracy, we remember that people must take mindful care of it because democracy is actually quite fragile. It is susceptible to demagoguery and scare tactics. Fear is poison to the democratic process. We must be careful not to create scapegoats so as to not allow irresponsible abridgement of human rights.
When basic democratic institutions such as universal suffrage and reasoned debate are threatened we are in danger of falling into the grips of totalitarianism. When democracy is overthrown, it is difficult and improbable for its easy return.
“Democracy is the art and science of running the circus from the monkey cage.”–journalist and cultural critic, H. L. Mencken
It is tempting to dismiss our responsibilities regarding the safeguarding of democracy when we see and hear the seemingly constant confusion and grandstanding these days. One must remain highly skeptical of individuals and organizations who claim to be the protectors of it. It is through a well-informed citizenry who considers issues from all viewpoints that help ensure the health of democratic societies. In such a society all citizens share dominion. Inept, corrupt leaders can be peacefully replaced and disastrous policies can be corrected by the will of the people.
I intend to spend much of today contemplating the concept of democracy and how it operates in a reasonably healthy society. How can we remedy the unsolved inequality, inequity, and injustices in a lawful, peaceful manner? There is much to think about.
The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes President Franklin D. Roosevelt. “Let us never forget that government is ourselves and not an alien power over us. The ultimate rulers of our democracy are not a President and senators and congressmen and government officials, but the voters of this country.”