One word that sums up succinctly the American ideal of our country is “Freedom.” American citizens and politicians routinely refer to the United States as “the land of the free.” As such one of the most important aspects of American democracy are that the freedoms of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness continue to be protected. Democracy is a system of government in which people have a say in policies. A “good” democracy is one in which government decision are in sync with the will of the people. A “good” democracy also allow for the will of the majority while protecting minority rights. As we have seen in the history of our country, such as when slavery was legal, there must be protections fro the majority within the constitution of the country so that even if the majority wants to exploit the rights of an individual or a minority group, the government system will be barred from it.
A direct democracy is a form of government where every decision, large and small, is decided by the vote of the people. This may work for large groups, but because there are 300 million people in the United States, we have a representative democracy. In a representative democracy people choose people who will represent them and their wishes on the different levels of government.
A good democracy allows for political, economic, and personal freedoms for individuals within a country. Economic freedom is having enough income in order to get by. Personal freedom is being able to do what one chooses, but so long as this freedom does not interfere with other’s right to freedom. Political freedom is having a government that does not prevent people from having life, liberty and their pursuit of happiness.
Our system of democracy has led to a very free country of prosperity. People are for the most part uninhibited with their freedom of speech. People are allowed to choose the professions of their choice. However, our two-party system creates a political gridlock where people do not have many options to choose from into which party they elect into office. They are making a choice between Republican and Democrat, two parties that are not as different as they would have you believe.
Currently there are great challenging compromising our democracy. The rich in our country are getting richer, and many poor people do not seem to have a satisfactory level of economic freedom within the country. The occupy movement highlighted the issue of the 1% versus the 99%, but the government overstepped it’s bounds in essentially shutting it down in New York City by forcing them to move their demonstration to a place where it would be less of a burden. Also, with the NSA taking people’s phone records and holding them, without the voters approval, democratic rights of personal freedoms are currently being compromised and it seems that the American people, while against it, are not taking steps of protest to do much about this.
Both parties—republican and democrat—are controlled by wealthy individuals and influenced by corporations. Viewed in this way, and the American democracy begins to resemble an Oligarchy, a system of government in which the power rests in the hands of the few, generally decided by wealth and family ties. Democracy to some degree is attainable, and while we have a democracy in the US, we do not have a perfect one and are living at a time when great threats are being leveled against it.