Is democracy the best form of government?

Before answering the question, we must understand the meaning of "democracy". It is a word whose significance has been buried under a mountain of misdirection and myth.

I take "democracy" to mean "rule by the people", but what is not made clear by that definition is how, exactly, the people practice their rule.

In the United States, the people have been persuaded that voting for a candidate nominated by a political party is democratic.

It's not!

In fact, that is the most outrageous political myth we've endured since the people were told that kings rule by Divine Right.

Democracy is not a team sport. When one votes for a candidate put forth by a political party, they are giving support to a group of cynical, unprincipled, power-seeking individuals, backed by vast sums of money, who make the decisions that affect our lives. Voting for a party candidate simply confirms the right of a small group of people to control and run the country.

The tragedy is that this myth is broadly accepted throughout the world. It creates a dangerous atmosphere that helps the U. S. export its political system to other countries, thus expanding the power and influence of the people who control the American political system.

If we are to have democracy, the people - all of them - must have an opportunity to participate in the practice of politics, in choosing the issues they want resolved and the individuals they think best able to resolve them.

Some people take this description of democracy to mean that everyone must be able to vote on every issue, a process they call Direct Democracy. Appealing though that concept may be, it fails to recognize the ease with which the people, when called upon to vote en masse, can be manipulated through the media. They don't see that the people, when acting as individuals and discussing issues with their peers, are much more critical and thorough in their examination of the issues.

The challenge of democracy is not to have everyone vote on every issue or to divide the people into parties that compete for the power to rule. The challenge is to find the best advocates of the common interest and raise them to positions of leadership.

To meet that challenge, given the range of public issues and the way each individual's interest in political matters varies over time, an effective electoral process must examine the entire electorate during each election cycle, seeking the people's best advocates. It must let every voter influence the outcome of each election to the best of their desire and ability, and it must ensure that those selected as representatives are disposed to serve the public interest.

If we are to have democracy, if the people are to rule themselves, we must conceive, validate and adopt a political process that lets the people select, from among themselves, representatives with the integrity and the ability to advance the public interest.

When we are able to do that, democracy will be the best form of government because it will be conducted by representatives of the people chosen for their ability to resolve contemporary problems to the benefit of the entire community.