I believe in the people. I believe in popular sovereignty. But most importantly, I believe in the power of the governed. I believe that without them, there would be no such thing as our government.
I am taught in class about how the government is supposed to serve the people. But without the input of the people, there is no way that the government can reach that goal. As Abraham Lincoln so nicely put it “No man is good enough to govern another man without that man’s consent.” I believe in a representative democracy. Representatives, in my opinion are essential parts of our government. They are the closest thing to consent people can get in an indirect democracy. Every representative elected was elected because they signify the ideas shared by most of the people in their area. Every decision or piece of legislation they create is an expression of those people, and I believe that, that is important. Legislators should always have the voices of the constituents bellowing in their ears. Without the people no decisions could be made because there would be no representatives to convey the consent of the governed.
The relationship is mutual. Not only does the government have a responsibility to the people, but the people have a responsibility to it too. As Walter H. Judd once stated “People often say that, in a democracy, decisions are made by a majority of the people. Of course, that is not true. Decisions are made by a majority of those who make themselves heard and vote…” In order for the government to work for the people, the people must share their opinions. They must vote for their representatives, vote for their mayors, vote for the president, and anyone else in our society who holds a place of leadership. I believe that voting is a privilege which each individual eligible should exercise to its fullest ability. I know that if I was eighteen I would not let that opportunity go to waste. If I did waste my privilege to vote, how could I expect change? How could I ever be disappointed in the decisions made by the government if I never used my opportunity to get my ideas recognized?
It’s participation which prevents the government from holding complete and total control over the people. It has been said that “power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” I do not believe that our government will ever become corrupt if we, the people, do not allow it to become like that. This is simply because I believe we are the government. The democracy which we have practiced for hundreds of years would have gotten nowhere without the people; none of it would even exist. “Government is not the problem, and government is not the solution. We, the American people, we are the solution.” I want to be part of the solution; I believe everyone should want that as well.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.