April 9, 2008 Leave a comment
We, Filipinos, believe so much in democracy that its constant practice in complexity diverts from from its simplistic principles. Everyday, we see, hear, and mingle with people and organizations who cry for freedoms and who invoke democracy, without even realizing that they are ignorant of what democracy really is.
Our country gained democracy in 1946 and has had the same political system interrupted only by 9 years of dictatorship, but many of us, the writer included, do not even know what democracy truly is.
REVISITING DEMOCRACY AS A THEORY-DEM 101
As defined by Merriam-Webster.com, democracy is “a government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free elections” While another reputed online dictionary Dictionary.Com defines it [democracy] as “government by the people; a form of government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised directly by them or by their elected agents under a free electoral system.”
In both definitions, three phrases prevail: SUPREME POWER VESTED IN THE PEOPLE, EXERCISED DIRECTLY/INDIRECTLY, and ELECTIONS/ELECTORAL SYSTEM. These three phrases constitute the fundamental qualifications of a democracy.
SUPREME POWER VESTED IN THE PEOPLE – This means that the people actually participate in the collective decision-making, whether in the form of balloting to approve new rules to govern them wholly or locally, or by electing representatives to do the same on their behalf. In both cases, mandate emanates from the people.
DIRECTLY/INDIRECTLY EXERCISED – As explained in the first phrase’s explanation, the citizens may actually directly approve new rules or elect people to do it for them.
ELECTIONS – or suffrage in general, refers to every individual’s power to influence outcomes. In this case, whichever is favored by most people becomes status quo.
(TO BE CONTINUED.)