Jason Lee

December 31st, 2018

Democracy Is Vital

The question of whether democracy is the superior government system; colloquial covering morality and ethical values. By looking at India and Ram Nath Kovind, democracies can be imperfect and not always liberal, but democracy is the best possible system because of its system of values to secure rights, freedoms, and equality. According to The Concepts and Fundamental Principles of Democracy, the democratic principle of political equality is that no one is born with the right to rule others; and no one is born with the obligation to political obedience. Furthermore, it includes Liberalism, including 6 different types of freedom: Freedom of religion, Political Freedom, Freedom of the Press, Freedom of individual expression, Right to privacy and to a private sphere of life free from governmental interference and lastly Right to freedom of association in public and private. Therefore, it is important to live in a democratic society. Democracy offers greater security for human rights, particularly freedom of speech, religion, and sexual orientation and gender identity.

First, democracy promotes and protects the Freedom of the press, one of the most vital human rights. For example, Norway has one of the most open media environments, allowing people to communicate freely and express opinions out in the public. Furthermore, Norway has one of the highest newspaper readerships in the world and has more than 200 paper newspapers and a number of digital subscriptions have shown clear growth. The Norwegian government is promoting different politics to set up new protections for individual newspapers and different media to ensure the safeness for people to express their ideas freely. Ghana is currently the 106th country out of 140 countries in terms of economy but is one of the top countries with the freedom of the press. Although there were some violent incidents where journalists were attacked by supporters of the opposite party, the contribution of the large country and independent newspapers create a diverse environment. Furthermore, the government is promoting different laws to protect one’s freedom to express their thoughts. However, Russia uses social media and television to spread propaganda. After the new laws were introduced in 2014 about the government taking over the media, Russia ranked 148th out of 179 countries according to the Press Freedom Index. The Russian government mostly has responsibility for the mass media companies to control the news that they release. According to the 2016 Mediastandart Foundation survey, most of the Russian journalists didn’t feel like they were free in terms of expressing opinions. Furthermore, according to Freedomhouse.org, at least 3 people were threatened by prison sentences by posting extreme opinions towards Ukraine. These three examples show how democratic countries to tend to have more freedom in terms of expressing one’s opinions which is vital.

Second, religious freedom fares best in democratic countries. For instance, Brazil has one of the lowest restrictions in terms of religious freedom according to georgetown.edu. Among the 26 most populated countries, Brazil has the lowest restrictions, including the United States and the United Kingdom. On April 29th, 2015 Brazil's largest and oldest mosque, Mesquita Brasil hosted the largest celebration of Religious Freedom attracting all types of leaders from around the world showing pride in Brazil of how much religiously they are free. At the event, Sheikh Abdel Hammed Metwally, religious leader of the Mesquita Brasil claimed that the event will "show the world how Brazil stands out as a leader" in religious freedom. Furthermore, they have different churches around the country for religious minorities to express their religion. However, in Germany, they have been struggling with supporting the minority faiths. Some of the Muslim and Jewish groups were abused using social media. However, the government is improving the situations by educating teachers about different types of religions to educate the students in school. Furthermore, most of the schools require students to take either ethics, philosophy or a religion course.  However, communist China suffers from a high level of religious restrictions according to cfr.org. Many minority religious groups such as Muslims are currently being physically abused and tortured in China. The U.N and U.S officials claim there are over one million Muslims captivated in Chinese internment camps. They are forced to renounce and praise Islam and also were forced to sing communist propaganda songs. China has banned the wearing of veils and prohibited giving children certain Muslim names. Even though China is one of the most economically successful countries in the world right now, does not respect people’s freedom in terms of religion. Democratic countries, while they may be imperfect, clearly offer more religious freedom.

Lastly, sexual orientation and gender identity are controversial because it is apparently a new topic in many countries. However, just like other basic human rights, democratic countries tend to show more progress compared to non-democratic countries. For instance, Canada has lower restrictions in terms of gender identity compared to Korea, a hybrid democratic country and Syria, a totalitarian state according to the world index of Moral Freedom. Justin Trudeau, the Prime Minister of Canada supported LGBTQ throughout his campaigns.  Last year, Canada passed a law to protect transgender and non-binary citizens from discrimination. Furthermore, in 2017, he had a formal meeting where he apologized to the LGBT community about how the Canadian community disrespected and abused the LGBT community. He says, “For stripping you of your dignity; For robbing you of your potential; For treating you like you were dangerous, indecent, and flawed; We are sorry.” showing deep sorrows towards the community. In Korea, as a hybrid democracy, the current situation is that even though gay marriages are allowed, the same-sex couple adopting a child is illegal.  Furthermore, in Incheon, the first gay parade was held but protests led by conservative Christians, have become increasingly loud and violent. Over 1,000 anti-LGBT protesters stopped the event by laying down in the street to bother the event. However, t democracies can offer opportunities for improvement. Christine Ahn, co-founder of the Korea Policy Institute said Women in general and LGBTQ Koreans have been working to build more protections for sexual minorities in Korea. However, in Syria abuses freedom of sexual orientation and gender identity. One of the laws prohibits gay marriages, with a punishment of a minimum of 3 years of imprisonment. It is the same for other Islamic State held areas. In those areas,  women and the LGBT community, are targeted for attacks. Recently, the Islamic State released a video saying “gay, maybe a drug dealer, maybe a pedophile, you know? So it’s very important for you to protect your children from these animals, from these dirty people. Allah says that they are the worst of creatures.” showing the hatred that they have towards gay people by referring them as “animals and dirty people”. This shows that undemocratic countries can restrict any progress on human rights. Throughout these examples, democratic countries such as Canada and South Korea show that social change can be facilitated by the democratic process, from public demonstration to government initiatives.


Milton Academy Sophomore

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