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"Democracy" Undermined, What the Word Doesn't Mean Today.

"Democracy" Undermined, What the Word Doesn't Mean Today.

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Published by Silver
What does "democracy" mean? My take on how its meaning has changed over the course of time, to the point where it means very little today.
What does "democracy" mean? My take on how its meaning has changed over the course of time, to the point where it means very little today.

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Published by: Silver on Jan 27, 2013
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Democracy NowBy SilverThe word
democracy 
is purposefully used today to mean things far different fromwhat it originally meant.
Democracy 
’s meaning has had several things done to it. In one way
it could be seen as having been expanded, yet it has also been altered fundamentally andthen narrowed back down. This transformation begins in classical Greece with the original
democracy 
and ends today with a term far removed from what it once meant.
Democracy 
is
now a term used in politics as justification, and is something that the “western world”
thinks it possesses.The origins of 
democracy 
begin in ancient Greece over two millennia ago, and eventhen democracy was not pure. To idealists with their heads in the sand and those who
believe in “pure”
democracy,
it is a government that is formed entirely of the people whom
it governs. That some people view this as “pure”
democracy 
is evidence in itself that it hassteadily lost meaning over time. This form of 
democracy 
has never existed, yet peoplereference Classical Greece as a time when it did.
Aristotle did say, “Democracy [is]
when the
indigent, and not the men of property, are the rulers.” Un
fortunately the situation he
describes didn’t happen. Even then the government was not “of the people,” it was of 
some people.
The only people who could vote in government affairs were male citizenlandowners. This means that at that time, a
majority 
of the population had no say inmatters. Women, slaves, and people without land were excluded from government affairs.The reality of what Greek 
democracy 
 
was means that those who believe in the “pure”
democracy 
believe in a narrowed down version of what its roots were. Even thissupposedly basic definition is an alteration of what history presents. From this
 
Wood2disreputable beginning in Greece it is easy to see how
democracy 
has had a penchant forchange over the centuries, leaving people with the nearly meaningless word it is today.The term
democracy 
has come into its own as a living thing since the dawn of theUnited States. The revolutionary war was fought for the democratized ideal; because of thisit is ingrained into the American psyche that 
democracy 
is true and great in every way. Thisis where things become questionable, and one must begin to doubt whether the initialrulers of the United States actually valued
democracy 
for its ideology or for the support it garnered among the people. From history itself the only valid assertion is that they did not value
democracy 
 
for its pure form, and only for the sake of the people’s support. Their realopinions appear in comments by Alexander Hamilton: “real liberty is never found in
despotism or the extremes of dem
ocracy” at the Debates of the Federal Convention (1787),and John Adams: “
Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and
murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide”
appear intheir own discussions of 
democracy 
with peers. Following the success of the revolution, thefounding fathers established a representative republic, not a democracy. The decisions of the nation were left in the hands of elected representatives, not the voters themselves.Ironically however, once again neither women nor slaves could vote. This will come back later when the civil war come into play. In truth the founding fathers must take a largeportion of the blame for the word
democracy 
meaning almost nothing of substance today.They offered it as payment to those who supported their endeavors, and in return gavethem nothing. They gave them a republic, and
democracy 
lost its inherent truth of being bythe people.
 
Wood3
Abraham Lincoln’s iconic statement that 
democracy 
 
is a government “of 
the people,
by the people, for the people” fails to hold sway when you consider that he was a president.The irony is overwhelming. He is the ruler of a “democratic” nation, yet in idealized
democracy 
there is no single person who commands others.. This i
s because the nation’s
forefathers changed the meaning of the word
democracy.
They removed the initial meaningof it, and widened the scope of what it included to include elected officials. In this way thedefinition expanded to encompass the characteristics of a republic. The term by this point in history already had very little meaning. To further take away meaning from the term,one must look at the irony intrinsic in the Civil War, and the literature and justification that accompanied it. The justification was that the freedom of slaves was in the name of 
democracy 
, the
democracy 
toted by the Greeks of old. If they had known that the Greeks of old owned slaves, they never would have raised the flag of 
democracy 
and taken it to war.The 20
th
century was an era of warfare in the name of democracy. Beginning withthe Second World War and continuing until the wars in the Middle East, the ever-present justification of violence was liberation and the self-righteous backbone of reassurance was
democracy.
During the 20
th
century the word democracy lost all of its remaining meaning.When war came to the forefront of society,
democracy 
began being used as a political
buzzword, with the heart of a nation behind it. We entered Korea as the “voice of democracy” and Vietnam as the bringers of “democracy.” How does this work? How can we
be the voice of 
democracy 
? How can you bring “democracy” to people? If it is a government 
of the people, then you cannot bring it to them; if it is a government by the people, youcannot speak for them. From Vietnam onwards, democracy has become the byword of the

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