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“Independence! Rebellion!” These were the cries of the American people about two hundred and forty-three years ago. This was at a time when the founding fathers of America signed the independence declaration to gain their own power from the Great Britain. The victory was what led to the formation of the United States of America. At first, an effort to have a fair democracy failed through the Articles of Confederation. Later on, a system was established where only the white male property owners were legible candidates in voting and government offices. This was a great mistake. After some time, reforms came into force and the system was abolished. Even though the modern system is a huge improvement to the initial plan, it is still not yet perfect and is plagued by problems that induce an unjust process of voting and a regime that is not actually run by the people and for the people (Poundstone, 2008). There is still a lot to be effected to attain democracy in the United States of America.
Democracy is commonly defined as a kind of concept in government where all the adult citizens have an equal contribution and say in the decisions affecting their lives. Preferably, this includes equal participation in the development, proposal and passage of legislation into law. Democracy includes cultural, economic and social conditions that make it possible for the free and equal practice of opinionated self-determination. Democracy is expected to play a very important role in the establishment of a government and the provision of government services. Democracy defines a government in which the majority rules. Democracy in itself is a philosophy of politics where the nation is governed through the people’s choice.
A very common characteristic of democracy presently practiced and understood is having competitive elections which are normally seen to push for freedom of the press, freedom of speech and some degree of the rule of law. Civilian military control is in most cases seen as important to prevent military dictatorship and interference with the affairs of politics. The rule of the majority is a chief democracy principle, although many systems of democracy do not go strictly by what it dictates. Representative democracy has been a common occurrence that direct democracy and the rights of the minority are normally protected from what is usually known as the “tyranny of the majority” (Aberbach and Mark, 2005).
There has never been a definition of democracy that has been universally accepted, particularly with the relationship to the elements in a community which are needed for it. Some people use the term democracy for liberal democracy which could comprise additional factors like political pluralism, equality in law, human rights, the right to petition elected officials for grievance redress, due process, civil society elements outside the government and civil liberties. Thus, an informed citizen about democracy should be like a process of breathing for without it, the hopes and anticipation of the masses lie in waste. Citizens have a very big role to play in democracy. Democracy is a very fundamental decision making process that determines the future and the fortunes of the people of the land.
The citizens of the land should thus be well informed on matters of democracy and actively participate in the process. The move to participate in democracy determines what kind of government will rule over the people of the land. Therefore, the citizens have a very big role to play in ensuring that this is achieved. Failing to actively take part in a democratic process has a lot of detrimental effects. If this ignorance is so much evident in a democratic nation, then the people of the land will continue living under the leadership of corrupt political leaders and under a very harmful regime until the leadership term period ends. It is therefore very important for citizens to be aware of what affects them in a democratic process and do what is required of them by voting to elect leaders of their own choice.
From time in the past up to today, there is a perception that government and public administration has not been reflecting the 'average' American. The controversy that followed the American voting system history was just because the process was biased and unfair towards the wealthy landowners of the white race. The laws that required property ownership, race and gender contributed to most of its existence. Luckily, these were gradually abolished thanks to the disagreement brought to the subject through the American people and innovatory minds in the regime. The first of these constraints to be struck out was the requirement that those voting had to be owners of property to vote. This was implemented by the states independently between 1807 and 1843 until it was universally accepted that any white man could vote at the age of twenty one (Aberbach and Mark, 2005). Democracy was thus limited to the average American who did not own property and who had little to show in terms of wealth. Blocking people from voting based on such grounds is not the expected in democracy.
The 15th amendment to the United States constitution was passed in 1870 which gave all men who were twenty one years old and above to vote regardless of ethnicity and race. This reform despite being a positive development was not full democracy. Some states undercut this reform by making sure non-whites did not vote. This was put in force through poll taxes, literacy tests and scare tactics that were used to keep the African Americans from voting. The rights of the women were also offered in 1920 that guaranteed them voting rights. Democracy was still in the coming. Women voting received a lesser opposition compared to African American voting rights. The search for democracy continued and this saw the voting age brought down to eighteen years in 1971. This is the stage in which the United States of America reached till today (Aberbach and Mark, 2005).
Despite the reforms that were implemented for the two centuries, the democratic process is still not fair. It includes some ways that cheat the voters out of their correct choice and some constraints in voting for a number of citizen groups. We may keep wondering how a system that is supposed to make a government of the people, by the people and for the people has encouraged some loopholes through which men swindle their way to the government offices and administration. As America progresses on, men who want the prestige and power that goes with political offices continue discovering more and more of these strategies. For instance, in many elections, a current scheme called vote splitting has been very useful to many political candidates that otherwise have lost in the political races (Poundstone, 2008).
Political candidates have been forced to fund a new candidate in opposition in order to split the opponent’s votes. This gives the candidate an advantage of having a united base at the expense of the opponent. The citizens of the land are also disadvantaged because of such a scenario. The average American will always fall prey to such a situation because they need the money at some point. Their favorite candidate is compromised and betrays them without their knowledge. This is not democracy. People’s rights are sold out to the wealthy and rich in the American society. In the process, democracy does not take full course. The true definition of democracy is not realized. Such occurrences have succeeded in nudging the election process in favor of the contender who succumbs to this offer through dishonest and trickery means. These are not the things that people are in search for in an elected government representative and administrator (Poundstone, 2008).
There are very many issues that this perception has created for elected officials, bureaucrats and citizens. For one, the first impression that is created is a system of corrupt individuals in power. The same characteristics realized in the election process are likely going to be so much evident in governance and administration of the country. Acts of this nature are almost not avoidable in the modern elections in America. Candidates and officials usually run mud smearing from campaigns that take one side that emphasizes on smearing the image of the opponent instead of providing facts concerning the candidate running the commercial (Poundstone, 2008). Independent groups financed by this candidate can also present such kind of slander, making individuals more certainly to believe information like this and thus make decisions founded on lies and half-truths.
This misguided information is added through campaign backing where the big interest groups in matters of finance back the campaign of a runner in order to get the promises from the same candidate in the event that he or she wins. This has caused a lot of conflicts of interests since the candidates go against their initial promises to the voters after receiving these donations. In spite of this, the Supreme Court has greatly been challenged and it recently ruled in favor of the form of corporate funding in campaigns. It declared that blocking such funding would be blocking freedom of speech. These matters can be solved more easily than the complications that the use of the Electoral College unavoidably promotes in the system of voting (Aberbach and Mark, 2005). The use of the Electoral College promotes unfairness in the system of voting in spite of its existence for most part of the American history.
The problem with the above matter is that, the College electorates are not mandated to vote for the candidate that is selected by the majority vote. Even though it is believed that this is a rare occurrence, individuals would not know whether the electorate actually followed or did not follow the vote of the state. Occasionally, such an act may and could have adversely affected the presidential election outcome like the 2000 election where the person who was popularly elected did not win. This beats the logic of a democratic process. The election was so close that a mere electorate vote could have very easily diverted the results of the election. It would be hard to say that a single electorate, swayed by an external force did not elect the presidential candidate the state had selected culminating in a sham of an election where the choice of the people was lured (Poundstone, 2008).
While at some point the Electoral College was utilized as a defense against the masses who are not educated being active in the regime and the chance of a British insurgency, these worries are no longer true. Moreover, the power balance between the large and small states in the Electoral College as a result of the electorates’ proportionality to citizens does not exist. When checked mathematically, it has been realized that the people from the smaller states have less influence compared to those from the big states. This definitely shows unfairness and goes against democratic principles. The Electoral College is absolutely outdated and does not address the need of a useful democratic process. A new process or modification to the existing Electoral College is seriously needed (Poundstone, 2008). This is made worse by the fact that some people’s groups are delineated from the process of voting completely and voting is inconvenienced through improper rules of election.
Therefore, democracy is a term that defines justice and fairness in the way of doing things. The people of the land have the power and ability to make a choice of the things they want. Proper knowledge of democratic rights boosts stability and efficiency in the nation. Despite efforts made to make reforms that fully support democracy in the United States, America is still engaged in an unjust system of democracy. The process goes against a number of America’s robust principles and forms a government that is not truly for the people, by the people and of the people. Through underhanded tactics and loopholes, people cheat their way into government offices so that they can attain power for individual gain. Even the most grounded models in the system like the Electoral College are very much unfair to the citizens of the land. A democratic process that guarantees equality in campaigns and during voting should thus be sought.