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Democracy Requires Participation

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An intrinsic element in the success of a democratic society is the willingness of the people to be self-governing. In modern America, to say that we have a government that is for, by, and of the people does not mean that each citizen is autocratic and simply 'takes the law into his or her own hands,' but rather that each citizen has the responsibility to actively participate in this large-scale experiment known as American Democracy. Therefore, the problem of declining voter participation is a serious one indeed.

Several reasons for this enigmatic conundrum of voter apathy have become apparent in recent years. In many presidential elections, numerous Americans have found themselves compromising their views and voting not for the candidate with whom they resonate best, but rather for the candidate who they dislike the least. This compromise that is forced upon the electorate is a result of the two-party system on which we rely for voting simplicity. Additionally, many voters are discouraged that their views are not represented by their elected government officials, and consequently, that they have no real power in their government. An anonymous Vermont farmer, when asked by an NPR reporter which presidential candidate he would be likely to vote for in the 2000 election, responded by stating that he honestly did not care who the president was because they were essentially all the same, and none of them would represent him effectively.

While American democracy is arguably the best system of government in the history of the world, it is far from perfect. In order to make this fragile experiment a long-term success, we must make fundamental changes to the statutes and processes that govern the workings of the gover...

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...f the electorate. National representatives could represent a proportion of nation views, and State representatives could represent a proportion of state views. This would allow the views of minority parties to be not only expressed, but taken into account in the proceedings of the government as well. Many people, especially young people with less favored views, would be encouraged to vote because their vote actually would have the potential of representing their true ideology.

Democracy can only exist when the citizens of a democratic state are willing and able to take an active role in their government. If we can increase voter participation by eliminating the Electoral College, streamlining the voting process, and allowing for proportional representation of partisan views in our government, then these are critical means to a necessary end.
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