In 2011 the people of Egypt ousted their president of 30 years, Hosni Mubarak. They held an election the following year, and Mohamed Morsi was democratically elected as the President of Egypt. A year later people took to the streets to oust another president. This leaves us with a question, does democracy really work and how can we fix it? As students who are going to be out in the world and who are probably going to be voting soon, we need to be informed about the flaws of democracy.
Democracy is form of government of one of the most powerful countries in the world – the United States. But it seems in the recent years that the democratic process is not working well, demonstrated by the fact that the current number of bills passed by the house and the senate is the lowest since the 1940s. To answer the question, “Does democracy really work and how can we fix it?” we have to ask three questions.
- What is the most effective form of government?
In the case of creating laws and regulations, students have different views. Sophomore Faisal H. said, “I believe that the most effective form of government is a benevolent dictatorship, basically where the dictator has absolute power over the country and uses that power benevolently, in other words, in a way to aid the people and push the society forward.”
Some students disagree with this opinion, such as sophomore Maahir Vasi, who said, “A dictatorship where one person has absolute power would never work, as there is no one to keep the leader in check.”
An example of a benevolent dictatorship is the ex-nation of Yugoslavia, more specifically under the rule of Josip Broz Tito. Tito had a good relationship with both the East and the West at time where the cold war was just starting. He was able to unify the Yugoslavian people and created reforms that encouraged private enterprise and greatly relaxed restrictions on freedom of speech and religious expression. But after Tito’s death, the country of Yugoslavia broke up because of conflict between ethnic groups, ethnic groups that Tito was able to unify before his death.
Another interesting answer was from junior Jack Kelley, who said, “I believe in Anarcho capitalism. So essentially there is no governing body and the people exchange with each other in voluntary interactions.” I asked Jack about how a country’s security would be protected in an Anarcho Capitalist world, he said that there are multiple ways such as personal security with knives and firearms and private security companies.
2. What are the flaws of democracy?
According to pure democracy, if 51% or people agree with something, 100% of the people must conform to that. According to Faisal, “This is a huge problem in the United States when they have a presidential election where it’s always very close and whoever ends up winning, half the country ends up hating the guy.”
Another problem, according to American Studies teacher Scott Meredith, is money. “Especially in the United States system, there is too much money involved. It can be easily corrupted or distorted by a capitalist system.”
But how can we make democracy work better? One solution, is a multi-party system and a different voting process. The new democratic voting process should work like this: instead of ticking a box next to one person’s name, you put the person you would most want to be in office on the first on your list and number the rest of the candidates off on how much you would want them in office.
- Is everyone ready for democracy?
Sophomore Maahir Vasi said, “It depends on what country you are…..everyone should be ready for democracy and everybody should get ready for democracy, but as of now not everyone is ready for democracy.”
An example of people not being ready for democracy, according to Faisal, is in Egypt. “Just like a dictator, people can go crazy with power. For example, this happened in Egypt. Mohamed Morsi was democratically elected. However, a year later he was ousted.”
Democracy takes time. Just as Maahir said, “If we fix the flaws of democracy, maybe everyone will be ready for it.”