Democracy’s definition is straightforward; democracy means “rule by the people”.
By the way, if democracy is “government by the people” you do not need to amplify it to “government of the people and for the people”. Democracy is “government by the people”, it is enough.
The Greeks did not invent “representative democracy”, they invented democracy. There is only one kind of democracy; direct democracy, the rest is not democracy. To the Greeks, representative “democracy” would be an “elected oligarchy”, not a democracy. It is time to stop distorting what the Greeks di 2800 years ago, and fool the people in the process.
How can “representative democracy” be a democracy if the people do not govern? In a representative democracy, in all of them, the people vote but do not govern, the politicians govern.
Representative democracy is an enormous advance over absolute kings, rule by priests, totalitarian regimes by individuals or political parties, but it is not democracy, it is not “government by the people”. That is why, in most representative democracies, voters do not trust elected politicians.
In a representative democracy the people vote and select the rulers, but the rulers govern, not the people.
Among modern countries, only Switzerland comes close to doing what the Greeks did.
Like in representative democracies, the Swiss also have elected politicians and political parties; in this they are no different. What makes the Swiss more democratic, and closer to Greek direct democracy, is that the Swiss people have more power than the representatives they elect.
This is how the Swiss system works; the people, not the politicians, have the power to call for popular referendums on anything the politicians do. The results of referendums are mandatory for government, not even the Swiss Supreme Court can overturn the results of a popular referendum.
In some cases, even if the people do not demand a referendum, a referendum has to be called for the people to decide.
The Swiss people can veto laws and policies; they can also modify the constitution. The elected politicians, no matter how many of them agree, can never prevail over the will of the people.
All Swiss citizens know they can start a referendum. They also know that decisions made by referendum have the democratic legitimacy that no decision by elected representatives can have. This is so for winners and losers of referendums and helps prevents riots and many other problems we see in representative “democracies”.
What do Swiss politicians then do? They propose laws and policies. Most of the laws and policies they propose are not challenged or turned down by the people. This is so because Swiss politicians know any decision or law they propose the people can reject.
It is also because of this that Swiss politicians have learned to work together; they negotiate… and negotiate… and negotiate, until they know most voters will support their decision.
Another benefit of the need parties have to cooperate is that in the Swiss parliament, the media, etc., you will not see the aggressive, often hateful and demagogical, debates we see in representative democracies.
While the Swiss do not practice direct democracy to the degree the Greeks did, the fact that the Swiss people have more power than the elected politicians gives the Swiss people the power they need to prevail and make Swiss democracy “government by the people.”
Swiss politicians can not “betray” voters either; they do not have the power to do that. No wonder Swiss politicians are the most trusted in the World.
Tired of politicians governing instead of you and your fellow voters?
Isn’t it time to switch to direct democracy? I am convinced it is.