Do you live in a country where you are permitted to vote for your country's leader during an election? Do you often complain about things that are happening in your country and voice these opinions to friends? And, do you rely upon newspapers to keep you updated on the goings-on in the world? If you answered yes to these questions then, chances are, you are living in a democratic society. Although, do you take this for granted?
Take the elections for example. Do you vote during elections? If so, I can guarantee you'll know someone who doesn't. If everyone in the country did this then that would be an instant end to the democracy! Take a look at societies where citizens play no part in selecting their leader or, any elections that are held are rigged. Do you think that, given the chance, these people would pass on the idea of a fair election being held? Of course not! One of the main principles of any democratic society is for the people to raise their voice and hold their leaders accountable. Without this the voice is lost and the democracy is at risk of being lost altogether.
The same can be said for the freedom to express your opinions to others. How often have you complained about Government policies to friends? If so you're in a very fortunate position. In some societies expressing a unique opinion can result in imprisonment or even death. So, next time you complain about how hard your life is, spare a thought for those who wouldn't even feel safe to complain in the first place!
The freedom of the press is very powerful in a democratic society. Sometimes considered more powerful than the politicians, the newspapers have the freedom to air their opinions and objectives to the policies made by Governments. Not surprisingly, this is not the case in many places in the world. In some countries, the newspapers are state owned and do not have the luxury of expressing a non-biased opinion. There, the people read what the Government want them to hear and, to a great extent, this is used as a method of controlling them.
So, do YOU take living in a democracy for granted? Perhaps if you do, it might be best for you to use your freedom and rights to their full advantage as not everyone is so lucky.