Is Democracy Right for Everyone?

Is Democracy Right for Everyone?



Our founding fathers did not believe in a government which was a complete Democracy. They believed that electing officials who would vote according to the wishes of their constituents would be more efficient. A form of democracy was established; a ‘Democratic Republic.’ So, my question is; is democracy right for everyone?

The United States adopted a policy of colonialism early in its history. Our leaders believed so deeply in the American way of life that it should exist in every country in the world, whether they wanted it or not.

George W. Bush claimed that countries without democratic rule ‘hated us for our freedom.’ How did he know that was a fact? Had he lived in every other country in the world long enough to learn what the people believed about their way of life?

When the United States invaded Afghanistan and Iraq, the goal of the Bush Administration was to ‘democratize’ those two countries and eventually the entire Middle East. The end result was to lessen the quality of the lives of the people in both countries, and in the end create a civil war in Iraq.

Afghanistan ended their election process on September 21st. An agreement between two opposing parties was reached, and a “government of national unity” was created. Concerns are being expressed that this could mean the end of democracy in Afghanistan.

One of many concerns it that both men, Ashraf Ghani, Afghanistan’s new president-elect, and his opponent, Abdullah Abdullah, aligned themselves with men of great power, and they will be seeking government appointments. Many Afghanis doubt that this will be a functional government.

The most surprising and unnerving part of the agreement, however, is covered in Article D. It stipulates that the position of the “leader of the runner-up team”, ie, the opposition leader, will be created and its “responsibilities, authorities and honours” will be officially recognised by a presidential decree. The article further clarifies that the opposition leader “will act as an ally of the national unity government”.

What this will actually mean in practice is ambiguous at best.

Attempting to force the American ideal of democracy on a foreign government may have created a form of backlash. The government of the United States is delusional; it continues to believe that the people of the world continue to emulate our nation and our way of life.

In Hong Kong, thousands of university students are protesting to force the government to remove limits to their voting rights. They plan to boycott classes from Monday through Friday. High School students are expected to join them on Friday.

“University students must shoulder the responsibility of these times,” Nathan Law Kwun-chung, the acting president of the student union of Lingnan University, told the crowd.

“Boycotting classes is just the first wave of resistance,” Mr. Law said. “Today is not the last step for us all. It’s the first step, and countless resistance campaigns will bear fruit.”

University faculty is doubtful about the possible success rate. “I think the entire pro-democracy movement understands that Beijing will not budge,” said Joseph Cheng, a professor of political science at the City University of Hong Kong. “Any campaign which cannot secure concrete objectives within a reasonable period of time is going to be a very, very difficult campaign.”

Hong Kong has a population of 7.2 million people, 78,000 of which are undergraduates. Present at the rally were approximately 13,000 students. There are no numbers as to the actual number who boycotted classes.

“I’m not sure if this protest will really affect the decision by China, but I’m sure if I don’t come I will regret it in the future,” said Cathy Lee, 21, a criminology student at City University. “I have to join this protest in order to fight for democracy in Hong Kong in the future.”

A country whose people want a democratic form of government and are willing to take action to secure one, should attain its goals.

However, the question is; how many of the 7.2 million residents who are not attending university seek the results for which the students protest?

There exist many forms of government around the world. Depending on history, economic conditions, demographics and education, democracy may not be the answer for everyone.

Finally, let’s be honest; our form of a Democratic Republic has failed because our elected officials have failed us. They no longer represent the wishes of the American people. The rule over us not for us.

So who are we to tell the world our form of government is the only fair and just way?

James Turnage