As the former British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill had a lot to say about democracy. His famous quote, “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the other forms that have been tried from time to time,” continues to spark conversation. While playing the Athens simulation game, I began to notice that many of the issues presented what’s currently happening in the world I live in. Quite frankly, it shocked me to see how after all these years, things really haven’t changed much. every day we bicker about what to do and how to solve problems in the end are never really solved. it’s honestly quite sad to know that despite the improvement in technology and lifestyle, we have yet to figure out what form of government is the best.
Currently, we have a democracy. According to Merriam-Webster, “democracy is a government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically holding free elections”. After falling to the Persians, citizens of Athens started to question democracy. They proposed to have laws and major decisions be made by the a Governing Council. Although currently, we have such a system in place I believe that because of Other people representing citizens, democracy is going to decline. Governing Council destroys the season Walker see we already have, it adds another barrier and divide between the poor and the rich and also decreases participation from the citizens.
A democracy should allow and encourage debates. They should, “encourage contestants to convert private disputes into matters of public concern, thereby opening them to public scrutiny and subjecting them to the authority of judgments rendered by public arbitrators and mass juries.” Only when the people have a voice is the actually democracy. We should be allowed to express how we feel about anything without any scrutinizing by others around us.
Having the freedom to speak allows us to express our personal thoughts and protect and fight for our own interests. However freedom speech also can be harmful. One such case is shouting fire in a movie theater, which can lead to people being injured just because someone wanted to say something. Words are so beautiful, but it’s a wonder that we still have yet to realize exactly how dangerous or beneficial it can be. For example persuade others to do something for them. Common techniques used are name-calling, glittering generalities, euphemisms, transfer, etc. There were many times where I was on a side of an issue that I should not have been on, but because I didn’t know any better, I trusted the words of others who seemed to know more. Nowadays such samples are really common.
Currently, we have a representative democracy and with great power comes with more responsibilities. There are many distinctive stories from all over the world with many morals, values, and responsibility. Two of these stories are the “Creation and the Fall” and “Arjuna the Mighty Archer”. Originating from Hebrew Bible the story of “Creation and the Fall,” tells its readers how our world came to be. Meanwhile, from India’s Mahabharata epic “Arjuna the Mighty Archer,” it is about a hero named Arjuna who was special for he excelled in all weapons. Although the “Creation and the Fall” and “Arjuna the Mighty Archer,” are written and from two completely different times, because similar morals saw throughout the world, the value of responsibility when given power is still seen in both completely different cultural stories.
When God finds out that they ate from the tree of life he said not to eat, God states in the “Creation and the Fall”, “because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field.” This quote shows that all disobedience results in punishments. When this quote says “thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field,” this means that when obtaining knowledge responsibility will come with it. This quote also explains why everything is cursed because humans obtained knowledge. If Eve and Adam did not eat the fruit from the tree, then all living things on earth would live in harmony without harm, but because they ate the fruit and gained knowledge, humans know what power God gave them is. Humans also learn that instead of just eating vegetable and fruits, they can kill anything living for pleasure or food. As God said, “[men] dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” In this quote, it illustrates that when power is handed to a person, they must be a just ruler who is subject to make a decision based on what other living things want and need.
Responsibility is not only meant for the student, but for teachers too. In “Arjuna the Mighty Archer” there is a respected guru called Drona. After Drona finished teaching his students all there is to learn, he “assembled them all to test their knowledge.” Teaching students in a way that all will learn is a teacher’s responsibility. In this quote, Drona demonstrates a way for his student to learn in, “testing their knowledge,” meaning getting real life experience. Although teachers are responsible for students, pupils have objected that they have to be responsible for themselves.
Education also plays a role and how people see their government and society. In Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury, the protagonist breaks the norm. The society of Fahrenheit 451 is a very fast paced world where no one ever stops to look or think or question. When Clarisse explains the education system to Montag, she says, “But do you know, we never ask questions, or at least most don’t; they just run the answers at you, bing, bing, bing” (29). The phrase “they just run the answers at you” means that there is no explanation or reasoning for the answers. In fact, any fast paced teaching will not allow people to have time absorb the actual meaning or lesson. Without knowing these morals, people only learn useless facts. In this society, the teachers are not teaching, but are telling you facts, and when children are told to memorize facts after facts, they have a bunch of useless knowledge in their heads, which leaves no space for them to learn anything meaningful. How can someone question and voice their own opinions when they do not get a chance to do it?
Civil disobedience is the refusal to obey certain laws, demands, and commands of a government. For some, this defiance against the government is just a long and dangerous act, which has brought us all too much sorrow, but the effect that will be seen at the end, will have pushed our society to even higher ground and civil disobedience is the essence of our present day government in order for the people to resist, want a limited government, and to exterminate prejudice seen throughout the countries.
In a democratic society and government, the right to resist an injustice is needed in order to show the faults in government. In Martin Luther King Jr’s letter from Birmingham jail, he addresses why direct action is needed in order to solve problems. In his letter he wrote, “nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and establish such creative tension that a community that has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue”. Direct action is seen every day in a democratic society. The protesters want the attention that they deserve in order to solve their problem. This quote shows that direct action was not the first step in order to gain the attention they deserve instead it was a negotiation, but because of the many failures when trying to negotiate direct action was taken.
Wanting a limited government means giving more power to the people in order to not create an absolute monarchy civil disobedience is needed in order to maintain a democratic government. Prejudice is seen everywhere and it happens so frequently that sometimes people cannot distinguish the difference between it and a joke. That’s where civil disobedience comes in hand; to awaken the nation to the effects of prejudice. The past and present future has always cheated civil disobedience is the foundation of a democratic government. Although not over civil disobedience is recognized and has made a change in our society, many has shaped the way of our present day society. There is still a long way to go in order to achieve a perfect government where citizens do not need to resist, launch a limited, and have to see hear or experience any prejudice.