Direct Democracy or pure democracy is where the public decides policy and what course of action is in their best interests directly. The job of the government is to make policy and the responsibility of the public is to vote on whether that policy goes forward. You would think that in an ideal version of direct democracy that the public surely would have to be more informed and in a sense have more social responsibility for the direction they want their country to move.
We live in an increasingly connected world where everything can be at our fingertips at a whim. If we really want to have our government better serve our needs collectively as the public, then we really should lay the framework for direct democracy. Democracy that allows for real choice and real change.
We are constantly hearing through the media that there just isn’t interest from the public in their governments, however I believe this is the result of the voting public not having access to real choices. Think about this, sometimes the right choice may not align with the governing party and this is where direct democracy could truly shine. Imagine if we as the voting public had a real true democracy, imagine if we had that responsibility to make those decisions that we truly had to think about, it would in my opinion lead to a far more engaged public and we could realize a progression of our collective interests like never before. Best of all, big money could no longer dictate our policy and if it could then we would all benefit from it, rather than a select few.
We have the technology and we have the means to do this. In fact there was debate about doing this in British Columbia in the mid-90s, it however never came to fruition, the main issue being that the federal powers were unwavering and created a dilemma for the provincial government of British Columbia. This top down system hampered the ability for the province to really have a say because all legal powers are vested at this federal level, if the federal level was not willing to share power, then it was destined to fail from the get-go. But what if we were to try again and this time make sure that the provinces could be allocated the power to have direct democracy work as it is intended to?
The Government should ideally be working to make policy that they honestly believe will benefit the people and in turn garner support from them, this is how I think any country that refers to itself as a democracy should function. The people can mostly notice when the government is attempting to put private interests above that of the public, and react by voting them out, this would be the ultimate in government accountability.
Representative Democracy differs from a pure democracy system in that the public only participates in democratic fashion purley to vote a representative that they hope will work with their best interests on policy. The United States and most other Western democracies utilize representative democracy. Ever heard that politicians are liars or incompetent? That’s because they have to lie to garner public support, but in fact are more than likely paid by donors to push a predetermined position, regardless of what they may have told the public.
Special interests and lobbying are real things that impact policy directly and in return the politician receives donations, money buys favorable media attention and well you can guess the rest of it. This is what I view of the greatest threat to democratic institutions today. How can somebody on the bankroll of a huge corporation have the interests of the general public in mind. Then there’s the money issue, the average citizen cannot ever hope to compete with the capital that some of these massive corporations have access to.
In a truly democratic society; the government should not fear the people because the government functions as an extension of the people, absolutely decided by the people would mean real democracy, I believe the way it was intended to function. If you had a moral responsibility to make the best decisions for your community and your country, you become a powerful moral leader and role model for others to see the true breadth of this responsibility; a responsibility that I feel is missing from government today.
Money should not be able to buy our good intention, we should have the kind of democracy which we could truly be proud of as a sovereign nation-state. It’s time we realized our power as citizens of this great nation and grasp the power and responsibility to exact powerful change that could benefit generations to come. It would seem as if direct democracy is just another step forward for a government that is truly of the people, a natural progression to make our country what we want it to be, not what they decide it should be for us.
Imagine how powerful of a nation we could become if we all had such great responsibility to truly shape this into what we collectively envision for ourselves, it is a powerful notion and one that we should never take lightly, but why would we want to if it directly affects ourselves and our people.