Verchamoh L. Kamara
Starz College of Science and Technology
Have you ever come across something so intriguing while making research on the internet? For me I have!
It was a beautiful sunny day while diving through the border-less territories of the internet and reminiscing on the disastrous memories of the civil war that took place in my country, Liberia. I coincidentally came across a question; “Is it important to live in a democracy?” I believe such intuitive question requires no other answer but YES. It is highly necessary and important to live in a democracy for it is the destiny of mankind.
I was born at the time my country was stained with the presence of a fourteen year civil crisis due to the harsh leadership of Dictator Charles G. Taylor in which 250,000 people lost their lives. Being born and growing up in the midst of a civil war is something that no child or children should ever have to experience. Autocracy and social and political instability have for a long time hovered its dark cloud over Liberia until December 2005 when we had the opportunity to go at precinct centers and vote for the candidates of our choice without the sound of guns. Later, when the final announcement of the election results were out by the National Election Commission, I could see women and girls dancing all over the street celebrating the winning of the first female Head of State (Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf) in Liberia and Africa at large – that was when I knew that Liberian women were ready to be at the full front of politics, and all that happened because of true democracy. The 2017 elections which marks Liberia's first peaceful transfer of power from one democratically elected head-of-state to another in decades, is another obvious evident that democracy is the destiny of mankind and is important to live in.
A DEMOCRACY is a system of government in which the people are giving the right to elect their own leaders through a free and fair process called election and are allowed to take part in decision making. In other words, it is a system of government in which the people govern themselves by electing their own leaders.
Inasmuch as no one wants to live in a system of government where he or she is discriminated or banned from doing certain basic things, one wants to live in a world where he or she is free to do all things that are legal without fear or any forms of threat. As beautiful as it sounds, democracy offers such immunity. Imagine yourself living in a system of government where you are allowed to say anything you like and do whatever you want in a peaceful and careful manner, as long as you don’t break any rule of law; how beautiful and safe that can be. Unlike dictatorship, democracy protects its people and put their interests at heart.
According to United States Political Scientist Larry Diamond, who said and I quote, “Democracy consists of four elements: 1) a political system for choosing and replacing the government through free and fair elections 2) the active participation of the people, as citizens, in politics and civic life 3) protection of the human rights of all citizens and 4) a rule of law, in which the laws and procedures apply equally to all citizens.” Therefore, living in a democracy isn’t only important but is also safe, resourceful, provides liberation and can be fun.
Moreover, in a democratic system, the law is applied to all citizens regardless of age, wealth, class or status, sex, gender, color, race, background, etc. Everybody gets to be treated equally. There is independence in democracy and there is a direct participation by the public. A democratic system does not contravene on the rights of its people and it is so good enough that it allows its people to express their thoughts and feelings through a mean called ‘FREEDOM OF SPEECH’. Some basic rights that democracy bestow upon its people include but not limited to the followings: freedom of speech, the right to assemble, the right to vote, the right to quality education, the right to own properties, the right to practice any religion or culture, and the right to compete for government positions.
As recorded in history, one of the world most elite scholars Mahatma Gandhi is reported to have said and I quote, “I understand Democracy as something that gives the weak the same chance as the strong.” Since one of our greatest international protests is Equal Opportunity for All, Gandhi believes that the underlying principle of democracy is freedom, since only in a democracy the people can have a share in freedom. Gandhi drew his understanding of democracy from the fact that it offers greater liberty and economic opportunity through capacity-building.
The absence of democracy in previous times has greatly injured mankind for far too long. For instance, the fourteen years civil crisis that took place in my country Liberia due to power greed in which over 250,000 innocent lives were lost, infrastructures were destroyed and thousands were displaced internally or took refuge in other countries. Not forgetting the invasion of Poland by German military units in 1939 where the Germans invaded the peace and freedom of Poland and murdered 1200-3000 Polish civilians including the death sentence of innocent 87 men and 13 women without the right to appeal. As we all are aware, power greed is one of the major factors that lead to dictatorship. Now if you asked me as to whether it is important to live in a democracy, I will gladly tell you hell yeah. It is timely necessary and highly important that democracy be used so that the people can live in a free world in peace and harmony.
According to American political hero Franklin Delano Roosevelt in one of his powerful speeches said and I quote, “Let us never forget that government is ourselves and not an alien power over us. The ultimate rules of democracy are not President or senators and congressman and government officials, but the voters of the country.” Former President Roosevelt understood that in the presence of democracy the citizens are major decision makers and he also believed that the presence of democracy offers protection from the abuse of power, prevents monopoly of authority, and promotes equality.
Unlike Dictatorship or Monarchy, Democracy is a unique system to live in. Dictatorship promotes tyranny and Monarchy promotes authoritarianism. In a dictatorship the people are forced to follow the wishes and instructions of their dictator against their will by either being threatened or manipulated; and in a monarchy the people are refused the opportunity or freedom to fully participate in the politics of the state and if anybody dared try to express his or her thoughts or feelings that are not of praises to their ruler, their life becomes threatened.
Democracy is a safer and much better world to live in. Even the United Nation believes in the ideology of democracy. The UN describes democracy as “a universally recognized ideal.” More than half of the world’s population lives in countries that are at least partially democratic; and international organizations hope to help this number increase. Their efforts are based on the idea that democracy benefits the people by protecting basic human needs – the political rights of minorities, provision of popular sovereignty, which means that the people are the ultimate source of the government’s authority, the free exchange of opinions and ideas, and the fact that the government only exists to serve the people, because it derives its power from the people. And more interestingly, this is the true face of democracy.
Finally, I see democracy as a system of government that means no harm, because it is a system that offers the opportunity to live in a free world. Democracy gives power to the people. The people exercise this power through elections, which allows adult citizens the chance to have their voices heard and to influence the government. With their votes, they can remove officials who ignore their plights or who betray their trust. The contents of democracy should always be our trajectory to give us direction on what to do to refrain from the pitfalls of the past. Literally, in a democratic world freedom is the only religion.