opinions

What is democracy?

Democracy (noun): a system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state, typically through elected representatives.

In a democratic society like ours in England, everyone has a say. So everyone is happy, surely.

However after the uproar after the results of the EU referendum, where 52% voted for the United Kingdom to leave the European Union and 48% voted to remain, its clear even democracy, where everyone is entitled to their own views and has a say in how the country is run, doesn’t please everyone.

I don’t claim to be a political mastermind so I’m always wary when discussing politics, however I was disappointed at the EU referendum results. Economically, it will be both destructive and beneficial so it’s just a case of whether the bad outweights the good, however I’m always a believer that we are stronger together and the last thing Britain needs is to be isolated. I’m still too young to vote, however those who did were outraged at the results and there was even a petition for a second referendum. I can understand the anger, particularly as there was the view amoungst some of the ‘leave’ voters that leaving the EU would be good as it would keep ethnic minorities out, and I am disgusted by that attitude. However besides the fact that I empathize with the ‘remain’ voters, they need to bear in mind that they did have a vote. So no one can say the result was unfair. Everyone who was eligible had a say, and I don’t believe that the disappointing result was any reason to start the ‘ashamed to be British’ campaign on Twitter; this is how a democratic system works so you can’t complain when things don’t go your way.

And many say this is the issue with democracy, the classic ‘you try to please everyone and end up pleasing no one’. Even if there is a 99% majority in a referendum there will always be 1% who are unhappy. However I think the real issue is that many of us need to learn to accept when we don’t get our way. Democracy and freedom of speech is a wonderful thing, I can’t imagine how oppressing it would be to live under a dictatorship regime. But of course with democracy, everyone gets a say. And yes, everyone includes those who may not have views you disagree with, and I believe as long as someone’s views aren’t deliberately harming another person or advocating violence, then everyone has the right to think whatever they like. So if you don’t believe those people you disagree with should have a say, then do you really believe in a healthy, democratic society? Of course it is disappointing when something you strongly believe in has a different outcome to what you would’ve wanted, but if the majority has voted in favour then all you can do is take comfort in knowing that you did have your say, and therefore there’s no reason to say that you hate your own country.

 Free speech is a wonderful thing, but this means letting everyone speak. And whether you like that or not, you’re going to have to learn to deal with it if you want to live in a democratic society.

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