Four a.m. Seated in front of the computer. I am just from bed, where I had been tossing and turning for hours, looking for sleep that was seriously evading me like the plague. This is not the first time. I should honestly sit it down and have a mature conversation. We can’t go into the new year with this dispute still ongoing. Anyway, maybe I should thank sleep for playing so hard to get because now, here I am, writing. Here I am sharing what’s on my mind with you, hoping that you too can share your insight with me on any topic, I’m always open to learn.

What should I share with you though? What really is on my mind? Well, I guess we could talk about the weather. Or should we talk about sports? Or maybe we should talk about the airports? What about the infrastructure in my city? Or the upcoming election. Who are you inclined to voting for as our senator and why? Well, the choices are endless. Ahaa… that gives me an idea. We shall talk about the fact that I can talk about almost anything.

Which reminds me, someone did recently ask me if it’s important to live in a democracy. At the time, I did not have a response, but I think I just may have it now. I’d say yes, it is important to live in a democracy. Why, you ask? Well, I have, one … two … or a few reasons.

Reasons why a democracy is important, in my opinion, are;

1. Freedom of thought and expression

• By living in a democracy, I can sit here and literally talk about anything. I can share my opinion without fear of being arrested for commenting against the popular opinion, as I’m doing right now. The fact that I can express myself freely, have my voice heard, is definitely a delight.
• Moreover, by being allowed to speak up, the people can challenge where the government may be coming in short, thus leading to growth of the nation as a whole

2. I am free to listen to whatever music I wish to, watch whatever movies, read any book

3. Freedom of movement

• I can move around freely without seeking permission.

4. Freedom of religion and belief

• The choice of what religion I wish to follow and practice is all mine and unrestricted.

5. What I wish to wear, what kind of education system I wish to follow, who I wish to marry are all up to me.

6. Equality

• The minority groups are well represented. Thus, they don’t feel oppressed or disadvantaged. They get an equal share of opportunities and can freely interact with other groups and take part in different activities without being written off
• Moreover, discrimination on account of race, gender, etc is absent

7. An accountable government

• Since the government consists of a group of people chosen to represent the larger population, they are answerable to the people and if they veer off the path that is expected, can be removed from their positions and replaced by more fitting people. This helps ensure that elected leaders hold up to their promises

8. Inclusivity

• It is human nature to want to have your voice heard. We want to be listened to. We want to be understood. We want to be represented. We want to feel included in the system. To have our specific needs met. A democracy allows for this as decision making is transparent. All decisions are shared with the people with the major decisions requesting for their input as well, through a vote.

It is true that a democracy comes with a lot of freedom. However, with the much freedom comes great responsibility. In this case, the citizens have to ensure that they do not infringe on the human rights of others, the major one being the right to life. This is normally protected by the law, under the constitution, to ensure that people have a proper guideline that can ensure everyone’s safety, and in most cases, a majority vote is needed for the constitution to be modified. I find this to be within reason as, in the case of a proper democracy, it leads to the most peaceful, enjoyable and comfortable life for the people.

Shame on me for not starting by defining what I am even talking about. What is a democracy? A democracy is a system of government, or rather leadership, whereby a small number of people are elected by the entire population as their representatives (leaders) and entrusted with the duty to ensure that the best interests of the people are met. They are normally elected by the people with the belief that they have their best interests at heart and have the knowledge to make the important decisions. It Is thus normally defined as a government by the people, for the people and to the people.

In conclusion, I’d say that the two most important aspects of a democracy are
1. It boosts people’s morale and thus they tend to work harder, therefore improving the economy.
2. When people take part in decision making and creation of the laws, they are more inclined to be law abiding as they understand why the law is in place.

The sun is now up. Sleep is now here being quite needy. Honestly, I will never understand our relationship. When I was in bed, literally begging for its attention, it pretended to have better things to do and insisted that I leave it alone. Now, when I do just that, it comes back nagging, and when I ignore it, it throws a temper tantrum. Oh relationships, will I ever understand you? Anyway, I can’t fight sleep any longer. Off to bed now. I should be getting ready for the day, but I guess an hour of time with my loved one, sleep, can’t be so bad. Thanks for your company. It’s been nice sharing with you. I’ll just leave you with this, I was asked why it is important to live in a democracy and have shared why I think it is. However, I’d like your opinion on this, does a proper democracy actually exist?


Gail Beryl

University of Leeds


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