Revisiting the Roots of Democracy
~ by Trevor Phipps ~
In 1776 just over 243 years ago, the United States of America was founded, which was a move that would eventually change the world.
That year was not only the year a new nation formed, but the actions of the Americans back then changed the way countries are governed today.
Before the U.S. declared their independence from Great Britain, all of the countries in the world were run by kings and queens. Leaders of nations were born into their power and the control of lands stayed under royal bloodlines.
America was the first nation to fight back and decide to create a system of governing by the people and for the people. Washington Post opinion columnist Marc Thiessen described it the best when he said, “The reason that ‘a lot of countries have freedoms’ today is because our Founding Fathers pioneered the principle of popular sovereignty, where governments answer to the people instead of the other way around.”
For years, the U.S.A. was one of the only democracies in the world. Before World War II broke out in 1938, our nation was one of only 17 democratic countries on the planet earth. It wasn’t until 1998 (a little over two decades ago) when democracy became the most common type of government in the world.
The beauty of a democracy is the fact that the citizens of the country (us) get to decide who leads and makes all of the vital decisions regarding foreign policy and several other subjects. Instead of rulers getting born into a leadership role, in the U.S., leaders get voted into office by the people who live here.
Every major government position from federal to state, to county to city, gets decided by the people who live in the given vicinity. Therefore, we as residents of this great country get to decide who makes all of the important decisions for us.
However, in order for this system to work efficiently, everyone must voice their opinion by voting. When you tally in your vote you not only get a say in how the land you reside in gets governed, but you are given the right to voice your opinion when things happen that you don’t agree with. A wise person once said: “If you don’t vote, then you can’t complain about what happens with the government.”
Sometimes, the people we choose to vote into office decide to do things that we may not agree with. Being a government official is not an easy task and most of them find it tough to please everyone.
But, every good public official (including ones at the local level), spends much of their time listening to people and trying to do what those who voted them in want them to do. However, for a politician to change their ways the people must stand up and voice their opinions.
Any time you think someone in the government isn’t serving the people correctly, tell them that. For example, if a member of Congress votes for a law you are opposed to, then write them a letter describing how you feel.
These days people seem to want to complain about how their city, county, state, or country is run, but they are unwilling to do anything about it. Political figures often have a tough time doing what their constituents want, when nobody tells them exactly what that is.
Locally, I have heard many people complain about how our smaller municipalities’ leaders do things that may not be best for the general public. If you ever see this occur, let them know about it. The smaller the municipality is, the most likely the leaders will listen to you. As the old saying goes, “only a squeaky wheel gets greased.”