I touched briefly on democracy in Friday’s post when I wrote Hate leads to fear I finished with a conclusion that democracy is a fragile political commitment. Winston Churchill is attributed for saying “democracy is the worst form of government – except for all the others that have been tried.”
Democracy is fragile because it always has been. It has been feared, criticized and manipulated since the start. Democracy is historically documented by the educated elite all of which have had a love hate relationship it.
To the ancient Greeks, democracy was an elitist political system, only accessible by wealthy men or who had served in the military. It evolved later to all Athenian men above the age of 20, which believe it or not that was only 10 percent of the population. None of these systems allowed for slaves and women to vote.
Europeans almost exclusively led a feudal system and only flirted with democracy with the Magna Carta in 1215. And still took another 600 years as the USA created modern democracy and Europe begrudgingly followed.
If the recent history of the USA and the UK with Brexit have proved anything. It is that as while we spoiled westerners are in the pursuit of happiness, capital or both the case for democracy is neglected.
The case must be renewed with each generation. What is taken for granted will eventually be taken away. So let us not take for granted our blessings. Let us regularly take stock of our partners, our family, our health and yes, even our freedoms.