A lot of people do not realize how fragile democracy can be. In a dictatorship, the power structures can hold on for a very long time, because they make the rules for their own continued existence. In a democracy, however, citizen participation can influence the direction a society or a country takes.
The good side of this type of structure is that citizens do have an influence over their representatives. If enough people become vocal or actively involved in policy decisions, the government has to listen. Otherwise, those currently in power risk losing their position.
It is vital to know how things work in your country and it doesn’t take a lot of effort to keep on top of current events! You don’t have to read about every single event or trend, but discussing the news with your friends and neighbors can make a difference.
An effective way to get involved is to join an advocacy group that works within a cause that touches you. You can find out what is going on in your area and how you can be a part of a movement for change or protecting those who can’t speak out for themselves.
It’s important to remember that the language of protest and demanding rights is only one part of citizen participation. Organizations like United Way promote individual and group initiatives. Volunteer, get involved, and find out how you can have a hand in fostering the common good. Living in harmony with your community and helping others to improve their education about the world will go a long way in protecting democracy.
At the end of the day, a democracy is only as strong as its citizen participation! That is the key. Since democracy means government by the people, it only works when people like you step up to take on their responsibilities with fully informed gusto.