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Semantically Confused


“Democracy” holds membership in a collection of words whose definition has expanded exponentially beyond its initial sense of meaning. Beyond a core definition, created at its inception by the Greeks to represent the “common people” or “common power” held by people, democracy is a word whose application is far beyond this sense of power and commonality.

Twinged largely by politics, the term democracy is often misconstrued to mean “common benefit” as it equal enjoyment and opportunity. The idea that democracy is a system where everyone has an equal hand in the aspects of social management is a major error and cause of strife. Democracy is not a system where everyone has equal access; in reality, democracy is a system where everyone has a voice to express an opinion. There are no guarantees in democracy. One merely has the right to speak up and have his or her opinion heard. This is powerful, of course, a profound right bestowed upon citizens who too often disregard its application. Many waste the prime right of democracy (at its core a right to communicate) and seek instead a series of benefits never connected with the system of democracy.

A system that gives everyone an equal share is unsustainable. Only a system with stratified levels of existence can function efficiently. Ultimately, a society’s progress is largely connected to this system of stratification: those on the bottom long to climb a social ladder while those in top tiers assist those at the bottom or unwittingly falter and inspire the innovations from the bottom levels.

In losing sight of the semantics of democracy we have developed an unrealistic and unsustainable notion of democracy. Perhaps more dangerous, this false image has been glamorized by media and has taken on an attractive luster serving to inspire revolution overseas. Democracy is an ideal system of government but it is not a utopia. Those who delude the democratic system as utopian fail to recognize the great struggle that it demands. A dictator has it easy- simplify power and apply resources as needed. Democracy requires compromise and is the most difficult system of governance.

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