The sad reality is that in a dictatorship the dictatorial person, party or religion impose themselves on the people and control people by brute force; punishing them, even imprisoning or killing them, just for disagreeing with the system.
In a representative democracy, the people are controlled much less, they are free to express themselves and are, in theory, free to elect their representatives, the politicians.
No doubt representative democracy is far better than dictatorships, where people have less rights than domestic animals.
Unfortunately, the people of representative democracies still lack the most fundamental freedom, the freedom to decide issues and policies directly, by themselves, over the will of the politicians and over the supreme courts appointed by the politicians.
One of the root problems of representative democracy is that it is ideology driven, not issue driven.
This means that people are herded into political ideologies. Political ideologies are like religions; “believe this because it has the answers you need”.
As is natural, people have different opinions on everything but the political ideologies try to tell them that should not be so, that there is a “true way”.
The idea of a “true way” is completely irrational because it is obviously impossible to have two, or three or three hundred, “true ways”.
The reality is that there is no “true way” on anything, that there are opinions and preferences on concrete issues, and that open reasoning is the tool of democracy, not faith.
For example, a person who thinks the country needs a smaller army may also want more police, or the death penalty. A person who is gay might oppose a minimum wage. A hunter might also be for totally green energy. I am sure you can come up with many other examples.
But the “progressive” and “conservative” ideologies herd people; if you are in the “progressive” herd you have to think this, this and this about gays, about taxes, about army, about police, about hunting, about the environment, about minimum wages, etc.
The politicians exploit the irrational need of many people for an all-encompassing “truth”, and reinforce it to get elected.
One of the things politicians do in representative democracy is paint rival politicians as practically deranged, corrupt and fools.
Naturally, his or her followers, end up thinking very much the same about the followers of rival politicians.
The result is (irrational) polarisation and division that gradually grows worse in representative democracies; the US is the better know example, but even countries like Canada and Sweden experience growing polarisation.
It has reached the point that even free speech is under attack. At the moment, free speech is under attack by the “progressives” more than by the “conservatives”, but the situation can turn around pretty quickly.
The whole thing of “progressive”, “conservative” is a false division that prevents people from looking at each issue and policy, rationally, without the ideological blinkers.
The politicians need money to pay assistants to produce speeches, press releases and ads, all to enhance themselves and discredit rivals. They also need lots of money to travel, for promotional materials, to organize events, to pay for expensive ads in the press, radio, tv and internet.
Because the politicians in a representative democracy have the power to decide everything, the competition is fierce.
To win the competition the politicans need the support of people with influence and, above all, with lots of money.
If to that, you are a crazy decision by the US Supreme Court allowing basically unlimited monetary and non-monetary contributions to political campaigns, you have a system where the money of the few prevails over the interests of the majority because the politicians are indebted to the donors.
The politicians are also indebted to the leaders of various pressure groups who, with their support, can deliver many votes to the politician.
But the situation is made even worse because, just to enter a political race to be a candidate, requires lots of money. This means that politicians have to kow-tow to money from day one.
That is how the voters do not have the freedom to elect, because they can only elect candidates supported by the system.
As you know, big money, “donates” to both major parties for obvious reasons.
From they one aspiring politicians are also under the control of the party apparatus. Sure, you can have the odd politician who is elected against the will of those with money, but they are so few that they have no influence on executive and legislative decisions.
The way to free people from the political herds is if people have the power to directly decide issues and policies.
In this way, each voter does not have the desperate need for “his” or “her” candidates to win; no matter who wins; the progressives, the conservatives, the greens, or even the extremists on the right or left, because the voter knows that the people can easily organize a binding refendum on anything, and that the result can not be overturned by the executive, by parliament or by the highest court of the land.
In a direct democracy, people may still support this or that party, but the system forces people think by themselves, not “thinking” as part of the herd.
So, if you want to be freer, and to bring rational decision making to your countryg regarding laws and policies, direct democracy, or semi-direct democracy is a huge step forward.
But the politicians and the lobbies do not want it for obvious reasons, which never are the reasons they put forward.
Direct democracy will only come to your country if you push for it.