An excerpt from the fictional tales of An Alien on Earth
Mathematically, the higher the population, the less an individual vote counts. When this country’s state and federal governments were formed, populations were drastically smaller. For instance the entire country’s population was less than that of modern-day Massachusetts. Throughout the years, representation within government has not scaled to match the significant increase in population, resulting in a severe weakening of an individual’s influence and representation.
Additionally, because of the particular method of voting, the establishment of a two-party system became inevitable. But a two-party system is incapable of representing the varied interests and ideas of a population of over 300 million citizens. And with party control of candidate selection, the choice presented to voters is further restricted. Also, the electorate’s only option when displeased with their government, is to swap between two parties every few years, replacing the majority party with the minority party they previously voted out.
Another consideration is the influence of business on government. Even from inception, with the compromises made to slave-holders and the additional laws passed in their favor, it was clear that money was a welcome influence, and business would be an over-represented participant in government. Despite lofty claims of freedom and equality, the government willingly maintains underserved segments of the population for the benefit of profits.
And concerning elections, candidate selection and issue determination are largely based on shallow sensationalist soundbites and advertisements. Oftentimes, polarizing topics are used to mislead and distract voters. Additionally, some advertisements are funded by donors seeking financial gain from policies enacted by the particular politicians they support.
There is also an unsettled philosophy of the relationship between voters and those they elect. At times, elected officials are considered leaders of the people, and at other times they are mere representatives of the people’s will, employees of the people. Oftentimes politicians flip between the two, depending on the sentiment they wish to evoke.
Something else to consider, is the existence of third-party organizations within government that are unaccountable to voters. These organizations maintain and enforce their own regulations and practices, without adequate oversight. Their capabilities are such that citizens lack sufficient recourse in dealing with them.
And lastly, casual participation within this system perpetuates the belief that individuals can influence their government, satiating the desire for change. So instead of seeking an effective means of influence, the system continues as it is.
In conclusion, democracy implies a government deriving its power from the consent of those it governs, individuals organizing their power in such form as to most likely effect their safety and happiness — but how minuscule can an individual’s influence become before it’s too insignificant to matter? The current configuration of government coupled with the immense population it governs, does not allow for significant individual participation — therefore this nation is not served by a functioning democracy.