Valuing Democracy

Sometimes we don’t know the value of something until we’ve lost it!

We’ve been taking democracy for granted for a long time. For some of us that means not thinking about or engaging in political debates, not bothering to vote (in countries where that’s allowed), not studying history.

I know that there are many flaws to democracy – and especially that it can be so easily influenced by money and hijacked by the vested interests of the powerful. But I tend to agree with Winston Churchill, that for all its flaws, the alternatives are much MUCH worse.

It doesn’t take a long look through history to realize that rule by monarchs, tyrants and dictators has been the norm, and many of them have been monsters! And without democracy there is no way to depose a monster except in very extreme circumstances and with a lot of bloodshed. The majority of tyrants have continued to rule until they either died of natural causes or were killed by another tyrant. This, for me, is the single biggest reason to value democracy – that it allows for the non-violent removal of a tyrant.

I really REALLY hope that the USA doesn’t succumb to the many forces that are already seriously eroding democracy. Because once it’s gone – well, it’s gone! History shows that those who have taken power for themselves don’t willingly give it up. Our democracy was hard won by ancestors who spilled blood for it, who were threatened, beaten and tortured for it. Let’s not give it up lightly.