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Two cheers for democracy:
one because it admits variety
and two because it permits criticism.


Democracy is normally associated with free elections for (1) members of the executive and legislative powers. This is certainly a critical aspect of this government system, (2) but it is not the only one neither the most important one. There are (3) some other important aspects inherent in democracy. One is the coexistence of different ideas, ideologies and opinions. The other is the possibility of criticizing freely any aspect of (4) a society. Both aspects are equally necessary to ensure the vitality of a democracy.

(5) Variety may be understood in terms of the acceptance of different ideologies and ideas and their expression by people. Since individuals grow up within different economic, social and cultural backgrounds, it is expected that they will develop distinct beliefs, attitudes and values that will shape their views of the world, society, governments, individuals, and so on. This variety will, in turn, generate much debate on how a country should be governed (i.e., what premises should drive the decisions of a government on political, economic, social, educational and several other subjects).

The latest legislative elections in the United States, for instance, led to a change in the composition of the American congress. The Democratic Party now has a majority of seats in both houses - the House of Representatives and The Senate. Democrats, who, for almost six years, have criticized several aspects of Bush's administration, including its foreign policy, will be able to enforce some changes. As soon as the elections (6) were finished, the Democrats (7) have requested the US forces to leave Iraq.

Criticism is, therefore, another key aspect of democracy. Even when a group that criticizes does not have enough power to enact changes, the critics may lead a government to change some of its policies. This (9) will depend on the extent the public opinion will corroborate these critics. If critics are supported by a large number of citizens and there is no change, an election may end up changing the (10) correlation (11) between the main political forces, (12) and the once-minority group may become the majority. In that case, instead of simply criticizing, the group will be in a position to implement the once sought changes.

In summary, free elections, variety and criticism are three fundamental pillars of democracy. They allow the right equilibrium among the existing political forces by preventing any of these political forces from acting against the interests of the majority of the population. In so doing, critics will emerge and they risk being replaced at the following election.

Footnotes

(1) Suggestion only: An alternative is "for members of the executive and legislative branches."
(2) Suggestion only: An alternative is "but is neither the only one nor the most important one" or "but is neither the only nor the most important one."
(3) Suggestion only: Alternatives include "a few other important aspects" or "a few important aspects" or "other important aspects."
(4) Suggestion only: Change "a society" to "the society" or "society."
(5) Suggestion only: Consider changing "Variety may be understood in terms of the acceptance of different ideologies and ideas and their expression by people" to "Variety is seen in the acceptance of different ideologies and ideas and their expression by people."
(6) Suggestion only: Consider changing "were finished" to "were over" or "had been completed."
(7) Suggestion only: Change "have requested the US forces to leave Iraq" to "have requested that US forces be withdrawn from Iraq."
(8) Suggestion only: Change "may lead" to "may force" or "may cause."
(9) Suggestion only: Change to "will depend on the extent the public opinion will corroborate these critics" to "depends on the extent to which public opinion supports these critics" or "depends on how well public opinion agrees with the critics."
(10) Suggestion only: Change "correlation' to "distribution of power."
(11) Correction: Use "among" instead of "between" if there are more than two (political forces).


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