Gerardo Jiménez Palomares
ITESM, Campus Querétaro
Is it Important to Live in a Democracy?
“Democracy will soon degenerate into anarchy.”
― John Adams
Nowadays, it is impossible to live without a social order, we are too many people living in the one world and it is unthinkable that we can live without a political system. Through the mankind history, the social order has evolved in many forms in many cultures. Thousands of years have witnessed democracies, monarchies and dictatorships that have come and gone and, in some countries, they have prevailed until become world powers. Having said the above, it is permissible to mention that there is no ideal political system. In a utopia, the political system must be one who respect the dignity of all living beings, and, until today, we have not known such a political system.
Depending on the case, democracy is a word with many uses and the term can be misused. Resorting to etymology, democracy comes from the greek democratía composed by demos “people” and kratos “power” (Council of Europe, 2017). In my own words, democracy is the authority of all the inhabitants that adjudicates them the right to choose their governors in a free, sincere and sovereign way, and how to be governed. At present, democracy has shown to be a political system where the opinion of all is respected and valid –mostly–, nevertheless it has a lot of imperfections, like in any other political system.
Getting to the point, I think that it is important to live in a democracy when the population is suitable to choose their governors; conversely, a population without education will choose a bad governor. It does not make any benefit to give power to choose presidents to people that are not well informed and are do not know about social problems, or simply do not care about it. That is why I think that live in a democracy is beneficent only when the population live honestly and is well educated. Something that seems a little bit diffuse is the gist of democracy; exercise the right of vote is not all democracy is about, it is about the relation between the people and the influence that they have to make decision that affect society. However, it does not make any sense to let people who is not apt to make certain decision, take a decision; in my opinion all inhabitants should have the right to express and opine, but not everyone should can be able to choose. Thus, a society can still be being democratic, since the people has the power to opine, and, therefore, to influence/participate.
A good example to support my viewpoint is that in Mexico, a “democratic” country, up to 30% of its voters decide who to vote for right at the ballot box. In 2015, a census made by INEGI shows that in México there were 119,530,753 citizens, this means that the previous statement suggests that more than 35 million Mexicans possibly voted uninformed and unconsciously (El Financiero, 2018).
From another point of view, the world is not perfect and we only have one; instead of talking about idealizations I will talk about democracy in the reality. I think that is important to live in a democracy because it is based on the idea of respect the decision and dignity of all and strives for achieve the equality of opportunities without taking into account that some voter is or is not “suitable” to vote, because democracy is about respect the idea of all, no matter that that voter is prepare or not, because he/she is part of the society. This previous point of view is supported by the idea that a well executed democracy has to go hand in hand with the 21th article of Universal Declaration of Human Rights which proclaims that: “Everyone has the right to participate in the government of his/her country, directly or through representatives freely chosen” (1948).
Furthermore, there are some other factors that limit democracy to be an ideal political system, one of them is the corruption. The lack of ethic is the biggest defect in a political system because it is caused by the abuse of power, and it is present in many forms. In a democracy, since a person who sells his/her vote, until a politician committing embezzlement. These kind of bad practices are fostered by the lack of education in a population, that is the reason for a population that has the power to choose their governors, has to be well educated in order to avoid the performance of bad values like intransigence, dishonesty and selfishness, which always promote to commit unethical and immoral acts. Unfortunately, an ideal situation where all voters are well educated does not exist, that is why we do not live in countries where democracy has high standards.
Having discussed the above, it is important to focus in the idea which points out that live in a democracy is beneficent only when the population live honestly and is well educated. In a personal perspective, as a student and citizen of a country that has political problems, I think that the only way to eradicate the bad execution of democracy and the lack of ethics in politics is to improve the educational system and the way the people’s think. Even almost all society problems can be suppressed by increasing the population overall education level and, if you ask me, the sole way to educate everybody is to foster habit of read in an autodidact way.
After all, democracy has shown to has the potential to be an effective political system but the people who compose the society and the government, we all have shown not to be apt to contribute what is necessary to make the gist of democracy effective. There is nothing left to ask ourselves what are we doing to finally achieve to be a society apt to be democratic governed? What are the ethical challenges that we will face to reach this objective?
Durán, A. (2017). Teoría ética de la democracia. EL Universal. Retrieved from: http://www.eluniversal.com.mx/articulo/angel-duran/nacion/teoria-et... democracia
El Financiero. (2018). Hasta 3 de cada 10 electores deciden su voto en la casilla: INE. Retrieved from: http://www.elfinanciero.com.mx/elecciones-2018/20-del-electorado- decide-su-voto-en-la-casilla-ine
Council of Europe. (2017). Democracy. Retrieved from: INEGI. (2015). Número de habitants: Encuesta Intercensal 2015. Retieved from:
Roosvelt, E. et. al. (1948). Universal Declaration of Human Rights.