|Type of paper:||Essay|
Democracy means the people are governed by themselves, either directly of through representatives.Two types of democracies exist; representative/legislative and direct. The United States of America makes use of the representative democracy through the Senate. Representative types of democracy involve electing leaders who represent the people of different regions. These leaders are elected based on their manifestos, depending on the interest of the people in the region they are vying for. On the other side, direct democracy entails one-on-one participation by citizens in policy making. This type of democracy is, however, not common in most Western countries. Direct democracy can be participatory and deliberative. In direct democracies, the law is amended through referendums, initiatives, and recalls. This type is not easy to run, especially for large countries where the citizens are sparsely populated. Thus, a representative type of democracy is more efficient and realistic to run in the 21st century.
A Comparison of Representative and Direct Democracies
Distribution of Power
Both types of democracy have their advantages and disadvantages. Representative democracy allows the power to remain with the people. The people get to elect their choice of leaders and determine what services or amenities they need most. They are also free to promote leaders who meet expectations and demote those who do not. This varies with regions and could be as short as two years in the United States.
For this reason, the administration is efficiently and more organized since leaders speak on behalf of the people. In a direct democracy, the process is, however, slow-moving and requires a great organization for it to be effective. It also requires time, since every person has a right to express their opinion through voting. A single person or a group, no matter their position, cannot make decisions. Whether the decision is an internal or international affair, all citizens must agree upon it. This is the main issue that differentiates a direct democracy from a representative one.
A direct democracy government allows all citizens to participate. Thus, they stay up to date with what is happening. Since every vote matters, more citizens participate in the process. However, for representative democracy, it may create reluctant citizens who view the leadership as belonging to the leaders. While some may not vote, others do not follow up on whether the leaders they voted in are fulfilling the promises in their manifestos. A few people interested in politics are left to analyze the performance of leaders, such that leadership becomes a concern for the majority of the citizens only during campaigns and elections. Citizens in a representative democracy need to be constantly reminded of their role in leadership.
Efficciency and Ease of Processes
Representative democracy has three branches: the legislature, executive, and judiciary. This ensures that power and responsibilities are distributed, which makes processes more efficient. Distribution of power ensures that decision-making is not centered on one body. All the branches are independent of each other and serve citizens at different levels. However, for a direct government; there are no branches of the government. The same people perform all roles. If they make a mistake or are biased, there is no regulating or independent body that can look into the decision. Although the constitution in these types of government governs the amendment that can be done, the absence of a body that specializes in law is likely to result in unnecessary amendments.
Participatory democracy is deemed to be more than political. Participatory democracy embraces social import through backing up relations of reciprocity, by consenting the recreation of social unions, it can assist in reconstituting today's debilitated organic cohesion, to restructure a social fabric threadbare by the growth of system of competition, self- interest, and individualism. Direct democracy creates a bond between citizens that cannot be achieved in a representative democracy. As citizens meet to evaluate the progress of their government, there is more than politics. The need for citizens to stay updated on what is happening in the political scene also drives them to go an extra mile in their social ties. The social fabric in a direct democratic government is stronger than in a representative one.
Representative democracy also gives the leaders total power. Power resides in the representatives and political parties, as long as they are in power. While their manifestos would have had the most ideological agenda, power and money often make the representatives forget the people they represent. Their visits and communication with their people become less common, sometimes detached. As their tenure comes close to an end, they show up to convince the people they need a second chance to finish their projects. Corruption is also high in representative governments since leaders are in control of funds, yet no one controls how they use them. They can also easily bribe their way past auditors. "The political class momentarily crafts an oligarchy of experts who protect their welfares in a common climate of irresponsibility and confusion. At the moment, when people hold decision- making supremacy much more often by co-optation or nomination than election, this augmented oligarchy by senior officials, experts, and technicians." A representative type of democracy may cause neglecting of the citizen's needs. It is human to be selfish, so leaders often pass was in favor of their interests.
However, this is not a problem for a direct democracy government. Citizens do not worry about those in power embezzling public funds. Corruption is not a worry in this type of democracy since all citizens share power equally. The power is left in the peoples' hands since every decision must be made through them. It would be hard to fool a group and get a loophole.
"Participation, said Rene Capitan, is a personal act of the subject acting as a participant of the prevalent collectivity." A person comprehends by how much the idea of citizenship, democracy, and membership are interdependent. Besides being relatively slow, the direct democratic government's process of amendment is also costly. Reaching people in a republic to give them opinions from almost every citizen takes time. So does to preparing all the documents, organize forums, and later compile the findings of the research. The exercise also requires a huge amount of money. Although the representative democracy money is used to elect leaders, it does not require as much.
Advocating for a Representative Type of Demovcracy
Given the reasons above, a representative democracy proves to be more efficient than a direct one despite its shortcomings. Representative democracies are more manageable to run. For instance, in a case where there is a national emergency, there is no need to ask for public opinion. In a direct democracy government, it is required by law that citizens make the decisions. In an emergency, the damage that results from delaying the response could be more than due to skipping the process of citizen involvement.
Notably, even though individuals get indirectly linked to the national policy formulation process, demands become heard since poor performing representatives may be voted out through demands of individual voters. Representation from elected leaders ensures maximum benefit to every individual, including those non-participative within the electoral process. Although those in the opposition may feel left out, their votes still count. An opposition ensures the ruling party fulfills the agenda in its manifesto and any other services that prove necessary for citizens.
When the people in a representative democracy feel they are not adequately represented, they result to other means to make their voices heard. In this type of democracy, the leader is the people's only voice.The ability to directly discuss with their leaders what they feel are the most urgent needs gives them partial control over what services are prioritized. Representative democracy allows for public participation. Leaders who are loyal enough to the people who elected them go back to their roots and sample the public's opinions. For those who dissapper once they are elected, the citizens perform peaceful demonstartions to be seen and heard. In cases where the two of these approaches do not work, they riot and cause unrest to be noticed. This especially happens in cases where social amenities are poor as they directlt touvh on citizen's lives. While it may succeed, it could land citizens in trouble with the law enforcer.
In the United States, representative democracy has been effective, with most leaders keeping their promises. An example is the one by former president Obama on Medicare. He spoke of it in his manifesto and implemented it during his tenure. Although he did not fully lay out the plan, he laid a foundation for president Trump's administration. Most of the leaders have not failed their people in the regions they were voted for. However, the system has not been short of problems, as it is known in representatives democracy. Countable cases of corruption cases concerning leaders are still in court awaiting ruling, but they have been minimal in president Donald Trump's tenure. Under the leadership of president Trump, the judiciary has been keen to pick out cases that deal with legislature corruption and misuse of power.
Both types of democracy have their advantages and disadvantages. Representative democracy allows the power to remain with the people. The people get to elect their choice of leaders and determine what services or amenities they need most. They are also free to promote leaders who meet expectations and demote those who do not, which could be as soon as two years or passing a vote of no confidence. Both the representative or legislative and direct democracy sufficiently run a government. They have their shortcomings and merits, but when properly implemented citizens are taken care of. The fact that many Western countries have adopted the legislative method does not mean it is better. As shown in the paper, the method is more applicable in large countries or those that are highly populated. It is also easier to implement and allows great ideas to be implemented before they get lost due to long citizen participation.
Everybody acknowledges the French Republic motto that states " Liberte, egalite, fraternity te Liberty, equality, fraternity." Thus, if the profuse democracies have subjugated the term "liberty," and if the previous individuals' democracies apprehended upon "equality," then that will be participatory or organic democracy. The United States has successfully executed the parliamentary democracy, which has given its citizen's liberty. The fact that they elect their leader after every two years gives them the freedom to choose who represents them.
De Benoist, Alain. Democracy: Representative and Participatory.( Washington:The Occidental Quarterly 2, no. 2 ,2008). 5-8
Scott, Timothy. Master's Tools and the Master's House: A Historical Analysis Exploring the Myth of Educating for Democracy in the United States. (Massachusetts: Amherst Publishers: 2017). 15-72
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