Montgomery Blair High School (Maryland, USA)
High school student
Living in a democracy is one of the most important aspects of a country. Democracy is the ability to choose your leaders in fair and free elections. If that is not part of your government, you do not live in a democracy. However, there are extensions of this principle such as being able to protest, freedom of speech, freedom to assemble, and so on. If a government commonly shuts down events or people that will make them look bad, it most likely is not a democracy.
As stated above, living in a democracy is very important. I would consider it the most important system or value a country should have. Without democracy, the will of the people will not be followed almost all of the time. The government will not advance the will of the people and what benefits them, instead it will pursue the goals of its leader. Most of the time this means doing everything necessary to keep the leader in power and enrich him at the expense of the people. This happens all the time around the world. Some examples include Syria, North Korea, Chad, Russia, Iran, and many more. North Korea is an especially extreme example of this savagery pursued by leaders. The leader, Kim Jong-Un, lives a extremely lavish lifestyle while the rest of the country is either starving or barely gets enough food to survive. Kim sends huge number of his own population to internment camps where many die. Nothing bad can be said about the leader, even not praising him enough could land you in trouble.
Democracy is an incredibly hard system to establish. It requires an attitude that the system is more important than any leader or other influence. This is why we see many more autocracies than we do democracies. It requires government institutions not to be fiscally corrupt, to believe in the rule of law, to respect the will of the people, to have checks and balances in the government that actually work, and a tradition of the peaceful passing of power from one leader to another. The establishment of an effective democracy can come down to luck as well. The United States got lucky that George Washington was very much committed to creating and preserving a democracy because he really could have made the office of the president anything he wanted to. I believe that the United States would have eventually become a democracy like the rest of Western Europe did, but George Washington made sure it was not up in the air. For these reasons, it is not easy to establish the tradition of democracy in a country.
Continuing the tradition of democracy from one generation to the next is extremely difficult. We have seen countless countries devolve from democracies to totalitarian states.This has happened in Turkey, Russia, Nazi Germany, Venezuela, and many more. In all of these countries the leader was democratically elected but then seized complete control of the country. These countries did not have the checks to limit the power of the leader, or the tradition that democracy is more important than any leader, no matter how much you agree with them.
Living in a democracy is important because it allows the people to decide whether or not they like the current government. If people decide they do not like the people leading the government for whatever reason, then they can replace them with someone they think will do the job better. This means that for the most part, the government has to do what is best for the people they are serving, otherwise they will be replaced. Leaders cannot simply do what is best for themselves because the people will recognize this and vote them out of office. If the people are not making enough money because of a bad economy, they are being over or under regulated, they are having to send their children to fight in wars they do not believe in, or anything else is going wrong, the people have the opportunity to change the policies of the country to something they like better. This means that the government is for the people, not to exploit the people.
Democracy may have some problems, but the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. Democracy is often less efficient than an autocracy because there has to be a general consensus in the government that a policy is the right thing to do. However, in an autocracy, whatever the leader says to do is what goes. Of course, if the leader implements a bad policy, there is nothing to stop it like there is in a democracy. China is a good example of of autocracies being efficient in good and bad ways. There economy has grown incredibly fast in the past couple of decades, and might not have been able to do that under a democracy. On the other hand, they have been incredibly efficient cracking down on what their citizens can and cannot see on the internet. The other problem with democracies is that voters might elect leaders that are not in the best interest of the country. The people have no say in a autocracy so they cannot elect a bad leader. The problem with this is that autocratic leaders do not have to respond to what the people want or what is best for them. In a democracy you simply vote the bad leader out of office and move on.
In the end, there is no doubt that democracy is the best system and it is very important to live in one. It might be inefficient and messy, but it does what is best for the people at the end of the day. You cannot have longtime leaders that ignore the will of the people because they will be voted out. The judgement of many might be slower, but it is more likely to produce good results. Establishing and keeping a democracy is difficult, but it is of the utmost importance. Living in a autocracy generally means less freedom for the citizens, which is always bad. After all, government is for the people, not to control the people.