IS IT IMPORTANT TO LIVE IN A DEMOCRACY?
By Mariana Campos Castorena
Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey Campus Querétaro
Being from Mexico, democracy is one of the most common words I hear on the street, on tv, on the newspapers and in many other places. Since my country is constantly hearing about cases of corruption, repression and authoritarianism most of its citizens question if democracy is what really happens in Mexico. Mexico is a republic and as one, its leaders in government are chosen by election and are expected to act accordingly with the campaign promises that they made. However, in a recent poll made by Parametría in 2015, 80% of Mexicans said that they didn’t trust politicians. If we chose are representative, the people should trust that their interests would be protected and that’s not the case. The concept of democracy is twisted so people believe they have the power but in reality, politicians are the ones who have the power which was ceded by the electors.
Democracy, as defined by the United States Government, is when the people have the power to elect its own government representatives. These representatives share ideas and concerns with respect to many topics of national interest and can be contacted by its citizens when wrongdoing. Moreover, Sweden defines also defines democracy as the power that people have to elect their government so as to “influence which political party will represent them” (Sweden,2018). In dictionaries such as the Britannica encyclopedia or the Merriam webster, the concept is basically the same. Democracy is when the people choses who represents them in government.
Democracy for me is similar to what the above institutions state but differing a little in the core. Democracy is when people have the power to influence the country’s, state’s or municipality’s direction by means of tools to evaluate the proposed laws by the government so that it’s the general majority of the electors that decide whether if they approve it or not. The concept is different because the power is not ceded but embraced by the people. Democracy is not a represented government but a people representation of itself in government when laws are presented, and direction milestones are approved.
Democracy is important because it gives real power to the people, it gives everyone an opportunity to enjoy government life and because it is the real detonator of development in the world.
The current concept of democracy executed by nations worldwide is one where people doesn’t have power. Democracy is important because it gives power to the people. According to Jeanna Sullivan, the current concept of democracy is “power to a chosen set of politicians who the people have elected “. In practice, this definition is true but it’s not democracy. People vote for their representatives, but they don´t influence the outcome of a law proposition, an increase in taxes or similar matters of interest that affect the majority. Moreover, they don’t decide on the budget (what, how, when and where to spend it) so they just hope that their elected officials will respect the promises in which they voted for them. According to El Financiero (2015), only a 10% of the total promises made by Mexico´s elected president for the 2012-2018 period have been fulfilled. This lack of power in the people reflects on Mexico in its 53 million inhabitants who suffer from poverty (Castro, 2018) and on the 10% cut in the GDP of Mexico by corruption (Forbes Staff, 2018). Democracy gives power to the people because it implies that people run government and not the elected officials (Sullivan, 2017). Consensus would exist between citizens which will audit the validity of the propositions by its officials and will decided whether to execute them or not. Moreover, would have the power to choose the people who will carry it out and judge them if they are not working as they expected. In this scenario, democracy gives power to the people, making the country, state or municipality advance to the goals that the people want.
Democracy is important because it gives everyone an opportunity to enjoy government life. In most countries in the world, there are few people that can actually participate in government decisions and public opinion on topics that matter to the most. For instance, in Mexico, according to the law, not everyone meets the requirements to participate in law and decision making. The general requirements for anyone that wants to run a public seat are: to have more than 21 years of age, have been born in the place where the election takes place, don’t be an official member of any religious group, be a part of a political group or fulfill the requirements to be an independent candidate (certain number of votes), and so on. The above mentioned are a few of the many requirements that people must meet to participate in government. Therefore, the majority of the country will have difficulties if they’d want to run for office. Not many meet the requirements and the ones who do, face many troubles to succeed since the processes can take many months and are not accessible to anyone since they may be expensive and far away (Ramírez, 2018). The real concept of democracy described in the beginning, would allow people of any age, professional occupation and financial status to be part of government since they would represent themselves in front of government and would be included in every aspect of decision making.
Democracy is important because it is the real detonator of development in the world in economic and social aspects. Nowadays, the countries in which democratic manners are above anything else are more developed than those who don’t use those practices. Those nations who have achieved a high economic development haven been able to do so by means of democratic participations of its societies in government projects and laws (Chavez Barcelata, 2006). This means that economic development and democracy are interdepent (Boutros Boutros, 2003). In order to do so, democracy must go beyond the simplicity of vote to the complex means of reaching out to hear peoples saying on matters of national interest. The Vienna Declaration established the interdependency of democracy and social development (UN, 1993). It has to do with people knowing their laws and what effect the projects undertaken by the government will affect their lives in order to have the power to chose whether that strategy is right for them or not. It is the ethical obligation of the government with its citizens to work with justice and honesty for their cause and present the real scenario. It is this why democracy is the real detonator of development in the world.
The concept of democracy has been twisted by the political stage in order to equalize a democracy with a representative government. However, the real concept of democracy is when people have the power to influence the direction of the place they live by means of tools to evaluate the proposed laws by the government so that it’s the general majority of the electors that decide whether if they approve it or not. The ethical problem of this is that many people have different information on what democracy is or isn’t, leading to problems in the way people view their governments and what expects of them.
Democracy is important because it gives real power to the people by empowering them to run government and its decisions, gives everyone an opportunity to enjoy government life since everyone can be a part of it no matter their age, professional status or financial status to make the decisions that best fit them and because it is the real detonator of development in the world since economic and social development are proved to be interdependent with democracy.
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Boutros Boutros, G. (2003). La interacción entre democracia y desarrollo. Paris: UNESCO.
Castro, M. (12 de June de 2018). ¿De qué tamaño es la pobreza en México? Obtenido de Milenio: http://www.milenio.com/elecciones-mexico-2018/de-que-tamano-es-la-p...
Chavez Barcelata, H. (2006). La Economía Mexicana. Crisis y Reforma Estructural 1984-2006. Obtenido de EUMED: http://www.eumed.net/libros-gratis/2008b/383/DESARROLLO%20ECONOMICO...
Forbes Staff. (23 de November de 2018). Corrupción le cuesta a México hasta 10% del PIB: OCDE. Obtenido de Forbes: https://www.forbes.com.mx/pib-mexico-corrupcion-ocde/
Josue. (2 de July de 2018). ¿Cuáles son los requisitos para ser diputado en México? Obtenido de Financiamiento: https://financiamiento.org.mx/requisitos-para-ser-diputado/
Ortega, E. (2 de February de 2015). Cumplidas, sólo 28 de las 266 promesas de EPN. Obtenido de El Financiero: http://www.elfinanciero.com.mx/nacional/cumplidas-solo-28-de-las-26...
Ramírez, V. (18 de July de 2018). Las ‘trabas’ de ser candidato independiente. Obtenido de WRadio: http://wradio.com.mx/emisora/2017/10/26/mexico/1509051427_974884.html
Sullivan, J. (12 de May de 2017). Democracy: People Power. Obtenido de National Geographic: https://www.nationalgeographic.org/media/democracy-people-power/
USCIS. (2018). Democracy in the United States. Obtenido de US Citizenship and Immigration Services: https://www.uscis.gov/sites/default/files/USCIS/files/Government_an...