The concept known in Spanish as democracy has its bases in ancient Greek and is formed by combining the words demos (which translates as “village”) and Kratos (which can be understood as “can” and “government”). The notion began to be used in the 5th century BC, on Athens.
Today, democracy is understood to be a system that allows organize a set of individuals, in which power does not reside in a single person but is distributed among all the citizens. Therefore, decisions are made according to the majority opinion.
Democracy is also understood as the set of rules that determine the conduct for an orderly coexistence politically and socially. It could be said that it is a lifestyle whose bases are found in respect for human dignity, freedom and the rights of each and every one of the members.
Democracy as a form of government
In practice, democracy is a form of government and organization of a State. Through direct or indirect participation mechanisms, the village select your representatives. It is said that democracy constitutes an option of social scope where for the Law all citizens they enjoy freedom and have the same rights, and social relations are established according to contractual mechanisms.
Government ratings driven by Plato and Aristotle they still remain in their essence. While the monarchy It is the government that concentrates on a only person, democracy is the government “From the crowd” (Plato) or “Of the majority” (Aristotle).
Classification according to type
There are several types of democracies. When decisions are taken directly by the people, they speak of direct or pure democracy; a indirect democracy or representative refers to the system where decisions are made by those people whom the people recognize as their legitimate representatives, who are elected through a vote by all citizens; and we are in front of a participatory democracy when the political model allows citizens to organize themselves to exert direct influence on public decisions.
The most common way in which democracy is exercised today is in representative systems, which can be: presidential (with an executive power with a well-defined head, as is the case of republics with the president, who is helped by ministers and secretaries), parliamentarians (A group of people form the parliament around which the actions of the government revolve. There is a president but he has restricted powers) and systems of collegiate (A combination of parliamentary and presidential systems, where the executive power is made up of several people chosen by the parliament, who take turns as presidents).
Some important concepts when talking about democracy are the referendum (right of the people to reject or approve the provisions of the legislatures), plebiscite (vote in which the people respond to a proposal made by the government on issues of the state of fundamental interest: change of political form, international affairs such as border problems, etc.), popular initiative (the people present to the government a proposal on draft laws or issues of political or citizen concern), recall or revocation (The people can override government decisions through popular vote and have the right to remove certain officials if they do not perform their work well), and juries (The people are part of the so-called popular juries to collaborate with the judiciary).
Is it possible to build a real democracy?
For there to be a real democracy, of any of the aforementioned types, certain laws must be followed: popular sovereignty, freedom and equality. The three words that define this lifestyle represented by a government chosen by the citizens.
Popular sovereignty ensures that all citizens as intelligent and free human beings they have rights and can respond obediently before the bodies instituted in common agreement with the rest of the citizens. It should be noted that the word sovereign derives from the Latin term meaning the one who stands above all others.
Freedom in a democratic state is of the type legal and individual. The first refers to the right of the human being to act by himself with the total right to decide on his actions, as long as his desire does not go against the laws (which have been accepted by the people unanimously) . For its part, individual freedom refers to the essence of intelligent and free beings that every citizen possesses from the precise moment of their birth.
The equality that democracy proposes ensures that all citizens they should have the same opportunities and the same duties before the law (legal equality).
Antonym of aristocracy
To close this definition, it should be noted that democracy is not the antonym of tyrant regime (dictatorship), as is often believed, but rather aristocracy. The aristocracy is a vertical political and social structure, where each citizen receives a number of rights and obligations depending on the social status they have. A democracy has a horizontal structure because the people have power, even if at first glance it is governed by a political person.
Unfortunately, democracy continues to be a precious commodity hard to reach. It is difficult to find a democracy that really works, mainly because of the lack of information and lack of interest from the people, which conforms to the laws and ends up giving up its rights to the political group in power, which in its ambition for power and money, leaves aside words such as plebiscite or revocation and makes decisions as if directing a monarchy or an aristocratic government . Democracy may not be the ideal form of government, if it conforms to a liberal economic system like the one that governs us, but it could possibly be much more recommended if it existed in a real way and not simply as a theory that never seems to be put into practice.