How can we engage more people in the democratic process?

The Democratic Process is a style of government where the citizens have the right to participate in the decisions of their government. This is the foundation of democracy. A vote is often conducted to determine the will of the majority. Democratic process is designed to keep the Executive Branch of a government or other organization responsible to the legislative branch, and, likewise, to keep the legislative branch responsible to the membership at large.Much like Scientific Process, Democratic process consists of a number of rigors, including open debate, Transparency, allowing dissent, freedom of expression, and fair & accurate voting procedures. For example, an Executive branch cannot act without orders from the legislative branch, often in the form of law, or policy. Operation of an organization in this manner is referred to as the policy-driven approach, which is criticized for its responsiveness, but keeps the executive branch completely accountable. Some organizations will waive this democratic process and allow the executive to make certain decisions on its own, provided that those decisions are not in conflict with the rules set by the legislative branch. While the reduction of democratic rigors will increase responsiveness, it also allows for greater corruption.

8 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
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    As a scientist, rigors of procedure appeal to me. However, policy-driven civil discourse is and should be a messy process with as few rules as possible. The USA tends to proclaim the glorious democracy while so many homes, schools, and workplaces operate under autocracy. No wonder people are confused and discouraged about participation!

    I am going to discuss this by way of what seems to be a non-sequitur. Please be patient and I will be short.

    Examine the example of democratic parenting. American Guidance Systems, which produces parenting guides (very helpful!), indicates that passivity is a behavior of deep discouragement. It is the worst of all dysfunctional behaviors.

    A behavior of the very discouraged child is passivity. In the USA, passivity is a grownup problem, also, especially by men. Sorry, ladies, I did not make that up. Public Policy Research shows men's passivity is an alarming problem!

    How can passive people be encouraged? Start at home. For one thing, by character-building words such as "You're responsible; you're caring." And, the famous AGS "natural and logical consequences" are very effective. For example, if someone wants attention but tries to get it inappropriately (e.g., obscenity), deny attention. Give attention later. If someone tries to exert power inappropriately, use good boundaries (see the 12-Step guides). For instance, if a person tries to deny the other sufficient money [frequently a husband-wife situation and also women are underpaid in the workplace], assertion is an option; and if that does not help, then - one of the beautiful things about America - the person can choose other options.

    How can encouragement be wide-spread enough to fight the passivity and poor civil participation?

    - One idea is to start at home. Financial incentives might be offered for parents that take (and practice) courses in democratic parenting.

    - Another idea is to add democratic leadership communication to all school teacher training. Yes, teachers already receive training on communication and discipline. Most of this is Pavlovian reward and punishment. It is not the AGS system.

    - A third idea is to add democratic interpersonal communication to every grade in school up through the college level. The type of communication that encourages civil participation can be learned, and the earlier the better.

    Source(s): American Guidance Systems and other parenting resources 12-Step and Codependency resources Interpersonal communication research my own experience
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  • 1 decade ago

    The democratic process is one whereby a localized group gets together to cast votes to determine, by majority, a certain direction or decision. The "democratic process" is not a system of government, which is a misconception held by a vast majority of the population. It is, in fact, only a method of choosing a government, which in our country (United States), is in the form of a republic, not a democracy. This inherently limits the democratic process to localized issues, which includes the selection of candidate to represent us, (hence the term "Republic"). We do not as a country, vote to sign a treaty, such as Kyoto, or to sanction a country like we did with North Korea. If we had a direct voice in the matter, then, and ONLY then would we have a "Democracy" or government system based on the democratic process.

    The Questioner asserts that the democratic process is to "keep the Executive Branch... responsible to the Legislative". This is a factual misrepresentation - they are equal branches of government (unless you are referring to a Parliamentarian system, like the one in Great Britain), and to place one "responsible" to the other place one above the other; this is simply not the case in the United States.

    The democratic process is nothing like the scientific method (called here, "process"). The scientific method is based only upon known laws, to the exclusion of the unexplainable. Social science, of which political science is a significant discipline, may try to mimic certain procedures of the scientific method, such as the collection and interpretation of data, it is simply impossible to predict human behavior on the democratic level, during the exercise of its singular characteristic - the casting of a "vote" or opinion on a matter.

    In order to get more people engaged in the "democratic process", we need to have an informed citizenry that understands the basic nature, characteristics and mechanics of our system of government, which is that of a Republic, not a Democracy. Only then can we truly begin to understand the "Miracle of Philadelphia" that was given to us. Only then will we understand that our voice is limited, by design, to a local voice. Once we understand this we are truly empowered to act as a nation.

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  • 1 decade ago

    There is a large tendancy to see dropouts in school as a problem for the public school system, but I think it is a problem for our society. The political language around the issue of education is not addressing why dropouts are a problem. Much of our society is split into two kinds of voices, those that have an ability to reason independently and those that have affiliated themselves into cultic often dangerous groups. Group leaders in this country are often only followers of dangerous ideals, that have nothing to do with our american democratic process. Politicians have to appeal to all kinds of people in our republic, and those that have the most reason to vote, our educated and hard working americans are the ones that have the most to lose to the kind of closed government on which this country was established to avoid. Our education system needs extreme attention still, and americans need to be given every chance to succeed educationally without it becoming a financial burden on families, which are already under a lot of distress.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Make a year of legal research a graduation requirement for high school.

    The commander in chief is the executive who can ignore the legislative branch when it comes to the employment of troops in battle, with or without a declaration of war. A free press, not the legislature being accountable to moneyed lobbyists, is what keeps government accountable to the people of the United States.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    I think you saw the begining of it with the immergation bill. People on the streets rose up and let their representatives know how they felt and kill the bill.

    CNN has my attention now how ear marks are keep from the public eye both democrat and republican.

    There is a sepration of powers and that is good thing I don't want 1 branch to run rough shot over the other 2.

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  • 1 decade ago

    I have always thought it was a mistake to try to achieve more involvement. "It doesn't matter who you vote for, as long as you vote" is the most ridiculous notion I've ever heard in regards to personal involvement.

    With something as important as our government leadership, I want the choices to come from those who are informed and WANT to participate, not those who do so because it's "trendy" or they are told to participate by ads on MTV.

    Educate people then set them on their way. Those who know the issues should be the only ones who participate. I really don't want some bubble-headed reality-TV addict choosing my next President.

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  • 1 decade ago

    I am discouraged and disappointed to have seen over the years, how the democratic process has been affected, by special interest groups and financially powerfull Lobbys .

    There was a time when IDEAS elected people. Unfortunately, now a days, MONEY elects people. How sad for our country.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Schedule important legislative debates so that they take place during prime time. People would be able to watch them on TV and become more engaged.

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