Democracy has had a checkered past. For the longest time, it was the least used form of government and, at periods of time, it wasn’t used at all. Monarchies, tyrannies, kings and queens, pharaohs, royalty — they were all used with strong form to make things great for themselves and, rarely, their constituents. That doesn’t mean these countries weren’t successful, many of them were. What they didn’t have often was the ability to change. The ability to meld and morph into something that the people always wanted. That is the key to democracy, the strength of it.

The fable behind it is that it’s the fairest of the forms. Though I agree with that, I don’t agree that fair is always the best. Fair can sometimes be dystopian, it can create pockets of inequality that aren’t changed with a simple swipe of a king’s hand. It takes time, it takes a long and arduous process of changing people’s minds, changing stereotypes and thoughts that have been rooted in a society’s collective psyche for generations. Just reading that sentence symbolizes the slow nature of the beast. The sloth that is democracy.

This perspective of the spirit of American democracy might shed light on some of the problems that exist. We have differing political parties and philosophies on what should be done, debates that last twelve hours and advertisements that get muddier than the deep south after a hurricane. Is this what was envisioned? Is this what the founding fathers had in mind for what we could become?

I don’t think we’re a lost cause, I truly don’t. I think that we have a current sweeping a nation of normally good-natured people into its riptide. Some people who appeal to this narcissism call the rest of America “sheeple,” others just twisted in the waves of those above us. Lost at sea, never to find their true north. Some of you may think that the founding fathers had a true north in mind, and we’ve just gone astray. Some of you may feel it was never the right track to begin with, we were always doomed to a dangerous life at sea. I’m saying, it doesn’t matter. All we need is a compass.

The voyage of character that America should take may have started wrong, could be wrong now, but it is a voyage nonetheless. A voyage with a destination in mind, and we, the oarsmen, have to navigate the boat. We have navigators put in place, mariners and experienced sailors, but we are the oar. The pushing and pulling of our minds is up to us. We’re the sheeple, just cogs in the machine waiting on greater things. But we’re also essential to the process. Above I spoke of democracy being a voice for the people, and that is exactly what it is. It’s not always fair, it’s not always balanced. Sometimes the people on the right-side push harder than those on the left, and sometimes vice versa.

Sometimes, the oars stop. We stop moving, stop progressing. Our navigators are too busy squabbling to realize we missed the draft and our sails haven’t opened. That means it’s up to us. Me, and you, and the rest of our merry crew. If we want rights for a certain group of individuals, then we push. If we think we’ve pushed too far, then we pull. Make your voice heard, and quite possibly, enlist a new navigator. We get a new one every four years, don’t we?

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