The Roles of a Citizen in a Democracy
The Roles of a Citizen in a Democracy
A Democracy is a type of government that is for the people to choose their leaders and to hold their leaders accountable for their policies and their conduct in office. The people are the ones who decide what they want and who they want to represent them, usually by a majority vote. But who exactly are these people? We refer to them as citizens of where ever they are from. We are citizens of the United States of America and we also live in a democracy. As citizens in a democracy we have many rights but also many duties that we have to fulfill such as to actively participate, to use nonviolent pressure to speak our opinions to the government and to follow laws but, to not follow unjust laws. One of the only ways a democracy can work is to have active participation from all the citizens. A reason this is especially important is when we are voting for a governor or president or even just a city mayor. If some people decide that they don’t want to vote, then maybe next time some more people will decide not to vote and then next time even more people are not voting, soon enough there are only a few people holding all the votes.
This is not what democracy is about. In a democracy, all the citizens are supposed to have a say in everything. When only a few people are voting and only a few people are getting there opinions across then its only a matter of time before they are the ones holding all the power and the citizens who did not say anything before will have no choice. This is why there needs to be active participation from all the citizens in a democracy. If a democracies officials are beginning to stray then it time for the citizens to use their nonviolent protests and actions. Nonviolent actions are simply ways to get your point across with out causing any harm. The Government is much bigger and more powerful than the citizens and if we tried to fight using gun power and other physical means then we would eventually get crushed by the overwhelming forces of the government. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said “I must say to you that we have not made a single gain in civil rights without determined legal and nonviolent pressure”(letter from a Birmingham Jail, 1963). He was very true in a sense that nonviolent actions are what has peacefully brought us how far we are today.
The government can sometimes become corrupt and it is our duty as a citizen to counter whatever the government is doing with our power of legal and nonviolent pressure. A citizen in a democracy must also follow the laws provided by their government but also they have to not follow the unjust laws. The government officials give laws in order to protect us from other people or even from ourselves. There may come a time however, that we will be handed a law that is very much unjust. How can we tell if a law is just or unjust? Martin Luther King, Jr., said “Any law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust.”(letter from a Birmingham Jail, 1963). When the government put out the segregation statutes, people were saying it was a unjust way to treat other humans.
It makes the segregator feel superior and the segregated feel inferior. The citizens decided not to stand this treatment so they began using nonviolent protests and petitions and eventually won out. This example shows that in a democracy it is the citizens voice that must come out and they are really the ones that will make it work. In a democracy a citizen must use nonviolent actions to show their opinions, follow just laws, and actively participate in the government. A democracy is a great way to run a group of people but it will really only work. Although some people say that a democracy is not the way to go, I would have to disagree and say that a democracy can and will work. The citizens in a democracy are really the ones that make it work. Without the citizens doing their responsibilities and using there rights then it will quickly turn into a place where the government controls everything and then they ways of a democracy are lost.
University/College: University of Chicago
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 9 January 2017
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