Alex Sturtevant January 16, 1997
After considering several different options, I think that the best description of democracy is a condition, both socially and politically, where equality and acceptance are the status quo.
We, as the United States of America cannot claim to be a nation built purely on a foundation of democracy. We, as the United States of America cannot claim to uphold the ideals of democracy in the everyday workings of our nation. While there is discrimination in our laws and police force, while information is concealed and restricted, while votes are bought and sold, we are not living up to the standards of true democracy.
The word "democracy" is one that I feel is thrown around much too loosely. The right to vote for politicians, alone does not equal democracy. Granted, we are living in a nation where there is freedom and opportunity abound, but democracy is an entirely different issue. Our government does not represent equality when it passes laws which denounce some of it's citizens i.e. ban on same sex marriages.
I do believe that there are many who are currently in power who do sincerely want equality, but while people can still be pulled over in their cars, and even possibly beaten just because of the color of their skin, we do not have democracy in our government as a whole.
The first step in achieving democracy is admitting that we do not have it. Until the act of criticizing America is turned from taboo to constructive help, democracy can never really be gained. Also, just saying that the United States is one of the most open-minded countries in the world, is not a valid argument for not striving for democracy. Just because we are relatively good, does not mean that we can't improve.