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Can Democracy Function Amidst Civil Unrest?



When you assess the current circumstances of the US, then you can see a nation that experiencing serious civil unrest, and becoming frayed and battle weary at the seams of its social fabric. As it continues to tackle domestic economical and social issues, in addition to continuing to play a significant mediation role in the affairs of the Middle East, there are growing concerns as to whether its current model of government is equipped to handle such demands.
Undoubtedly, the US has one of the most liberal and diverse set of principles of any global nation, and as a democratic power its core value is the notion of government for the people by the people. While this itself is an aspect of US rule that should not be questioned, it is becoming increasingly strained as individual demands can often not be met by the economic or corporeal resources of the country. Whether it is working pay and conditions, reducing unemployment or tackling violent crime and morality, the needs of the people may be beginning to outweigh the current capacity of the government.

The Needs of the Individual against the Needs of Society
 Before we understand this, it is important to note that democracy is the only true and fair way to govern society, and its principles should form the bedrock of any progressive nation. However, as it essentially grants personal freedom and liberty to individual citizens, this allows them to form independent thought processes and opinions and create demand and a certain expectation of living. As these are unique to each person, and developed in the name of personal interests, they can prove to be difficult to satisfy while maintaining the overall needs of society as a whole.

This becomes especially true when the country is experiencing strained economic circumstances, and it subsequently becomes even more of a challenge to balance the requirements of the individual against the community. For instance, the recent public sector working rights dispute emerged from proposed government cuts to health benefit contributions and a restriction to collective bargaining rights, which was itself a response to the $1.5 trillion budget deficit that needs to be cut drastically over the next 12 -18 months.

There is arguably no wrong or wronged party in this instance, just a difficult situation where separate groups are attempting to serve their own interests without due consideration for each other’s predicament. This is not a criticism of either the US government or society, but more an inevitable consequence of a federal regime that currently cannot satisfy individual and collective demands without serious detriment to the nations well being. As we can see, if the US was currently experiencing economic prosperity, such action would not be necessary and the functions of democracy would continue to work without issue.

Stretching Resources to Meet Global Requirements
So if the current economic circumstances are not conducive to the basic values of democracy, then what about the US’s high level of involvement in international affairs? This is certainly not a new phenomenon, as the US has been a significant player in international relations for decades, often at the forefront of attempts to eradicate burgeoning and potentially dangerous dictatorships and instill a global model of democratic rule. This is undoubtedly noble and largely in the interests of the worldwide community, but it is an activity that is difficult to sustain while the economic and social models of rule continue to falter domestically.

After all, the cost of military operations and defense programs account for a sizeable amount of the nation’s wealth, which of course diverts funding from other areas of domestic and civil interest. So as global disputes continue to dominate world news, the US find themselves where they are being forced to commit more troops and funding to international causes, with the result that civil interests are bound to suffer to some degree. Quite simply, there is genuine concern once a nations interests expand as their breadth of resources continue to diminish.

Finding a Suitable Balance

For democracy to be ultimately successful, balance is a significant factor for consideration. The key is to find a suitable equilibrium between individual and communal needs, as well as one which regulates the volume of domestic and international interests in accordance with a countries existing resources. Of course this is an ideal, and far easier to achieve if a nation is benefiting from a generative economy and the practice of harmonious social interaction. Otherwise, the values of democracy can create individual conflicts and consequences which do a disservice to its overall purpose.

There is an element of the US needing to cut its considerable cloth according to resource, by implementing considered and discussed spending cuts alongside a reduced role in international mediation. This does not mean hidden cuts that damage the potential for the long term growth of the economy, or removing itself from global interactions. Ultimately, it equates to the government attempting to sustain its policies and democratic values across a more stringent application, tightening expenditure and activity in the process. Whether this would simply serve to dilute the ideal of democracy is valid question, but an adjusted model of rule may help the US to consolidate and ultimately recover from its current light.


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Navaid I. Syed is the owner and CEO of www.ExcitingAds.com / ExcitingAds! Inc. He is a medical doctor and was born in Mirpurkhas, Sind, Pakistan, on July 31, 1964. He graduated from Liaquat University of Medical and Health Sciences, Jamshoro, Sind, Pakistan, in 1990. He is Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates, Philadelphia, PA, USA, certified.

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