Magazine, website & books written by teens since 1989

Basic Notions of a Broken Democracy This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

As I flip to page eighteen of my government class textbook, I notice a column about the five basic notions of democracy. It immediately struck me as odd the basic notion one, two, three, four, and five were not being followed when it came to one current, touchy subject. I go on to read that "Dignity and worth of the individual is of overriding importance" which once more confuses me, but I flip the page to find more.

This time, the first thing that catches my eye is bolded in big blue letters that reads "Equality of All persons." It states in the third paragraph that "All are entitled to (1) equality of opportunity and (2)equality before the law" and continues to explain that no person should be held back for any such arbitrary reasons as those based on race, color, religion, and gender. Stop. Arbitrary, defined as "Based on random choice or personal whim" or better stated as things we can't change about ourselves, oh, and religion too. Democracy according to my textbook states that we should be able to develop ourselves as fully as we can, yet I keep reminding myself about a group of people who are being denied that.

Individual freedom is the next set of seemingly enormous words in comparison to the small print in the rest of the book, but what's in that small print catches my attention more than any blue words could. It reiterates our mutual thought that democracy can thrive only in an atmosphere of individual freedom, and that democracy means individuals must be as free to do as he or she pleases as far as the freedom of all will allow. The book quotes former associate justice of the Supreme Court when he said "The right to swing my fist ends where the other man's nose begins", yet some media outlets get to swing its fist and smash one group of people. Another quote follows, but this one strikes me harder than anything before in this book. It was a quote from President John F. Kennedy, which read "The rights of every man are diminished when the rights of one man are threatened." and as I finished the quote, the same fire which has been set off in the hearts of some families, friends, strangers, and so many people, set off inside of me.

Flipping back to page eighteen, I reread the five basic notions of democracy.
(1)- A recognition of the fundamental worth and dignity of every person.
(2)- A respect for the equality of all persons.
(3)- A faith in majority rule and an insistence upon minority rights.
(4)- An acceptance of the necessity of compromise.
(5)- An insistence upon the widest possible degree of individual freedom.

I have a question, now. Why don't those notions hold true for homosexuals? They have been stripped of dignity and been made to feel as if they are not as worthy as a heterosexual person. When Americans in a July 29th, 2013 Gallup poll were in favor of marriage equality by 52%, the majority was in favor of more rights for a minority group which was stripped of its basic right of their pursuit of happiness. How can our so-called democracy exist when we are not thriving on individual freedom? How would a straight man's rights be diminished if we gave homosexuals the freedom to get married? Answer: The straight man's rights would not be diminished in any way. One of the basic notions of democracy is compromise, though. While it may not be the greatest, I have a starting point for that compromise. It follows the lyrics of the song Same Love by Macklemore. It speaks of just a slip of paper. Don't force the churches to marry gays, but allow homosexuals to sign a paper which can become an ultimate comfort and a tremendous weight off of the shoulders of people in fear for their lover, should they pass away, all because of something comparable to race or color, something you're born with, not a decision or choice you make.

We live in a country with freedom of religion, yet those groups define homosexuality as non-traditional, which we have come to adhere to. We gave people the freedom to be themselves, no matter what they want their life to be. Let freedom ring, in this union of states. Let democracy be restored.



Post a Comment

Be the first to comment on this article!




Site Feedback