Choosing definition of democracy

People are used to the benefits of democracy, so much so when we think about this word, we think about liberty, equality and stability. However, countries that have democratic regimes also experience political struggles to sustain stable societies. While two articles both state the positive characteristics of democracy, Schmitter and Karl provide a more comprehensive and persuasive definition by including what democracy may not be capable of producing.

First, democracies cannot please all interests and opinions. This is what is happening now in Thailand, where democracy was once flourished but now in deep trouble because of the conflict between two long-standing bitter opponents. One party is the Thaksin Shinawatra, which is supported by the people from the rural area and has been able to win several elections while the anti-Thaksin forces, mainly supported by the middle class citizens who ally with the military, courts and entourage of Thailand’s king, “have employed a coup, court rulings and street insurrections to drive three elected governments from power in the last seven years.”

Second, democracies are not easy to govern. “With recently acquired autonomy, groups and individuals will test certain rules, protest against the actions of certain institutions, and insist on renegotiating their part of the bargain.” In reality, we can once again refer to the situation in Thailand. Washington Post titled Tensions in Thailand, again described the anti-Thaksin, the so-called “yellow shirts” and their allies are “besieging government ministries and clashing with police.” What worth noticing is this time they say their aim is not just to bring down the government, but to replace it with an unelected “people’s council” — presumably so as to avoid future electoral defeats. It seems like the opponent group have gone an even further step by using the freedom granted by democracy to overthrow democracy in order to get their political interests.

In conclusion, democracy does not solve all social questions immediately not does it only produce the benefits. Like every other things, it has its downside. It is more persuasive to define one term with both its pros and cons.

Newspaper source:

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