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Protecting Our Democracy from Dictatorship

Protecting Our Democracy from Dictatorship

The world’s history demonstrates that there are different ways of self-organization of the societies ranging from a primitive communal system to modern democracy. It is generally agreed that modern democracy is a huge benefit to any society as it grants the basic civil rights to any individual. However, there is evidence that some of the countries that claim to have a democratic political system have a danger of switching to dictatorship. This process may take place gradually, which makes it difficult to detect or prevent this issue and helps a particular political power obtain a monopoly of the state regulation. This research analyzes the US Constitution, as well as the work of the President, the government, and the judicial system of the US suggesting that the Constitution protects democracy. The Constitution of the United States was written to outlive the standard 200-year lifep and protect the citizens from living under dictatorship even if the same political party represents the Executive Office for consecutive terms. Therefore, in case a state’s Constitution creates a legal framework for democratic self-regulation, it prevents one political player from establishing dictatorship.

Governing by Executive Order

One of the issues that may contradict the Constitution and endanger democracy is the ability of one branch of the state power to absorb the power of its counterparts. In this respect, one should consider the status and regulation of the executive orders. These orders are issued by the president acting as the head of the Executive Branch and have a legally binding power making federal agencies and officials either comply with or neglect congressionally established laws (“What Is an Executive Order?” n.d.). In contrast, the laws of the Congress are the result of open and transparent procedures that take into account the will of the public. The danger of abuse of the executive power is that the president who actively issues executive orders gradually becomes a dictator, who ignores the role of the Congress. In 1999, the Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt highlighted this aspect stating that “We have switched the rules of the game. We are not trying to do anything legislatively” (“What Is an Executive Order?” n.d.). However, the benefit of the US Constitution is that it does not permit executive orders explicitly, which serves as a barrier to presidents’ abuse of the executive power. An example of this is the critique of President Obama’s abuse of executive orders and the pressure of possible impeachment proceeding by the Republican Party in 2013. Consequently, this unique aspect of the Constitution of the US protects the citizens from possible dictatorship.

In addition, one should discuss such issue as the accountability of a president, which varies in specific situations. For example, a lame duck president, who is limited in powers as a result of a loss at the elections, is not accountable to voters in next election. Apparently, this is the situation the US citizens could observe earlier this year when the Congress was blocking any initiative of the President Barack Obama in the last months of his presidency. Therefore, the political reality of the US is that the president cannot issue any executive order making them going for the next turn or obtaining the power of the Congress. Also, even if a president wins re-election, it does not give them rights to govern the country by issuing executive orders. In this case, the president quickly loses political reputation and will never be held accountable to the voters for unfavorable decisions at the end of the second term in office.

Diluting Checks and Balances

Another aspect that allows the Constitution to ensure a democratic form of government is the possibility for checks and balances, which update it in response to diverse social and political factors. In this respect, the words “We The People” in the Constitution are significant because they demonstrate that the public regulates individuals it chooses to govern the country. An interesting fact is that the Founding Fathers of the Constitution wanted it to abolish the rule of tyranny and the minority by establishing a Constitution. However, just as contemporary America looks far different from its historical image of the 1700s, its Constitution has also been modernized. Consequently, due to checks and balances, the modern society has the means of resistance to legal actions of the president that neglect the Congress.

Furthermore, a contemporary political system is characterized by the presence of the two major political players, which are the Republican and the Democratic Parties. Experts claim that having both parties in strong positions within a governmental system encourages a social discussion of various social issues and allows reaching a compromise. The reason for this is that if voters have many parties to choose from, they may paralyze the political system or “push them into decisions that are against their own best interest”. At the same time, the public is focused on two major political parties, which have to meet the demands of the society to exist as a valid and relevant state power.

Another advantage of checks and balances is that each political power has a limited term of its activity. For instance, the House members have to go through re-election every two years, whereas the Senate undergoes a similar procedure every six years. In this respect, scholars claim that regular elections give the citizens a possibility to ensure that their voice is being heard. At the same time, one cannot deny that it is possible that House and Congress members may advocate the interests that deviate from the ones of the voters. Thus, in a democratic society, the election process should be free and fair with elections used as a primary tool that offers various parties and civil groups an opportunity to validate their social policy. Another viewpoint is that the democracy is granted by the fact that each political branch balances the power of its counterparts with all three being the focus of the attention of the public.

Government Becoming the Major Employer

In a democratic society, the control of the political powers and the public is also important when considering the role of the government. In this sense, the government may endanger democracy, becoming the key employer and the regulator of the civil freedoms. For example, it is possible for the government to employ key people in highest paying positions to control the society. In addition, corrupt governments use secretive means to support themselves, undermining the civil rights of the state. Also, the government may practice imposing high taxes pressuring free enterprises and reducing the possibility of the public for opposing its policies. However, there is a need for supporting an adequate balance of control of the government because there can be another player negatively affecting democracy. Thus, Wilkinson argues that “”less government” actually mean less power for elected leaders and for the bureaucracies that serve them and more power for the “oligarchy” of millionaires and corporations”. Therefore, the US Constitution supports democracy because it allows electing relevant leaders capable of meeting the demands of the society and controlling large corporate business players.

Judicial Appointments for Party Agenda

The last power that grants the control of the citizens over the party policy agenda is the Constitutional role of the Judicial Branch. The danger to democracy coming from this branch of the state power is that in case the judges are appointed on a “patronage” basis, they fail to protect the needs of the society. The modern shift to “policy-based” appointments of the judges allows preventing judges that compromised their competence from the presence in lower and higher courts. What is more, according to the Constitution, the judges have to protect the laws but not party agenda. For instance Article III of the Constitution defines that judges “… shall hold their offices during good behavior” (“Judicial Independence” n.d.). Consequently, incompetent or compromised judges have to quit the job in order not to harm the citizens’ rights and freedoms. Besides, the approval of the admissions by the Senate assures that competent judges are in power. Therefore, the Constitution grants independence of the judges from the influence of other branches of the state power in several ways, which include appointment, lifeterm service, and constantly stable salary (“Judicial Independence” n.d.). Therefore, the Constitution of the US is a unique document that allows the state to preserve democracy and grants the civil rights and freedoms to the citizens.

Conclusion

In summary, the US Constitution is one of the critical powers that allowed the American society preserve democracy. Even though the Founders of the Constitution aspired to make a republic, its gradual changes connected with the social influence made the country a democracy. This means that the fundamental regulatory power of the society is provided by the elections during which people select their leaders to govern the country. At the same time, the Constitution creates a framework that restrains each branch of the state power from abuse of its role. Therefore, it keeps the government accountable to the people and their civil liberties, supporting democracy and assuring that the United States of America never becomes a dictatorship.

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