As people slowly but surely awaken to the fact that representative democracy is not a democracy of, by and for the people, but rather a democracy of by and for a select group of people mistakenly referred to as representatives of the people, the question once again becomes, what is democracy of, by and for the people and how are we able to implement such a system to best benefit everyone regardless of where each one happens to be participating.
Remember, democracy is simply a form (methodology or system) of collective decision making, wherein the degree (amount or percentage) of democracy expressed by the collective is equivalent to the degree by which all members of the collective have “the opportunity” to participate equally in any and all of the decision making processes applicable to the collective as a whole.
To be clear, democracy is not about having an obligation to participate in any particular aspect of a democratic group or collective; nor is it about having an obligation to participate in anything at all. Rather, democracy is and always has been simply about having “the opportunity to participate equally” in any and all aspects of the decision-making processes applicable to the collective. In essence, real democracy is simply an expression of real equality to decide and determine the shape and direction of, by and for the group or collective unto which the democracy applies.
For example, in a classroom democracy of twenty students, each student would be afforded the opportunity to participate equally in any and all of the decision making processes (or steps) leading up to the final step of voting to decide and implement a matter that is applicable to that class as a whole. From there, those same students might exit the classroom to enter into other systems of democracy, such as the school, community, city, state, national and even a planetary democracy, wherein each “participant” would (from the small to the big and the big to the small) continue to always have and/or be afforded the opportunity to participate equally in any and all of the decisions that are going to apply to that particular participant.
Herein, the right (as the opportunity to participate equally in the decision making processes of a collective) goes hand in hand with any obligation to abide by the decision that have been collectively made. And this is why representative democracy (in terms of it being a decision making system of, by and for the people) is a contradictory term which actually refers to a form of control exercised by a minority that constitutes what we call government, which is actually just another form of tyranny over the people who have yet to take responsibility for the direction of their collectives. The good thing is, we are finally making some progress.
In order for a system of decision making to be a true expression of democracy, those unto whom the decisions will apply must always have and/or be afforded the opportunity to participate equally in all of the decision making processes leading up to the implementation of that particular decision. For example, as someone living in the Amazon jungle is not going to be affected by the decisions made in a Washington DC elementary school, that person would also not be provided (as a right) with the opportunity to participate equally in the decision making processes of that classroom.
But this doesn’t mean that he or she might not one day decide to travel to Washington DC to visit that classroom, whereupon that person (as a new participant in the sphere of that classroom) would then have the right as the opportunity to participate equally in that classroom’s decision making processes, while also being subject to its democratic processes (while participating), which may or may not already have rules pertaining to welcoming newcomers.
Participation is a given that comes with life: even if you decide not to decide, you have still made a choice as to how you will live the life you’ve been given. Therefore, if we really want to see change in our democratic systems, we require first to take back our power and start participating - becoming the change we care to see.