In the books of history, the second president of the United States, John Adams, has been remembered as a philosopher whose scholarly interest in scholarly meditation of politics surpassed that of practicing politics. He asserted that democracy would never last long. Adams felt that democracy was not based on an optimistic view but rather a pessimistic one. He regarded human nature as inherently exploitative and self-interested. Therefore, no system of government would make humans resent the tendency of clenching more power. Thus, Adams repeatedly never allowed democracy to be practiced in America since he felt that once humans had the power, they would destroy other people’s freedom of thinking, writing, and speaking. He knew that power was able to corrupt any system of government and that any person would want to become an authoritarian, but they did not possess that power. Adams’ statement may have seemed pessimistic, but it is not. It addresses the truth. When the countries that have been destroyed by democracy are looked into, then it is evident that President Adams has been right.
Democracy can be described as a type of government where the power is vested in the people. The eligible voters in a country can elect the leaders that they want. Consequently, these leaders represent them in the government. The global spread of democracy happened in the 20th century. This was a century marked by political unrest in the entire world mostly because of the world wars that happened back then. Over the course of the 20th century, the First World War, the Second World War, and finally the Cold War changed the world. After the Second World War, European powers, which had spent significant resources in the war, were left militarily and economically exhausted. Therefore, they were unable to rule their colonial territories and they had to grant them freedom. One of the countries that had been granted independence was Ghana. By the time it gained independence from Great Britain, it was already a parliamentary democracy. However, this democracy did not pick up. When elections were conducted, Kwame Nkrumah was elected the President. However, instead of letting democracy prevail, Kwame declared that he would rule Ghana for the rest of his life. In addition, the country became a one party state. After only three years, a coup was staged by Kofi Abrefa, during which Kwame was overthrown. Just as Adams had said, Ghana Kwame had used the majority of his party members in the legislature to outlaw the opposition party politics. The leaders went ahead to establish dictatorships in their countries. This accorded the party in power monopoly since they would not face opposition in anything that they did. In this case, democracy wasted, exhausted, and eventually murdered itself. Thus, the belief that democracy leads to freedom is not always true. The African people may have even enjoyed greater prosperity and freedom when they were under colonial rule than when their independent governments took over the leadership of their countries.
In 1992, the people of Thailand took down to the streets to oust a military government. This seemed to be a step in the right direction, considering the fact that the people of Thailand were quite educated, and the economy was booming. By the end of the 19th century, Thailand had conducted several peaceful elections and passed laws that protected civil liberties and that prevented graft. However, the reformers, who had lead the ousting of the military regime, backed off. They felt that Thailand had reached a level where watchdogs, media, and transparency monitors were no longer necessary. Thus, they shut them off. However, this proved to be costly for the Thailand government and people. As the Asian financial crisis ensued, there was a massive loss of jobs for the middle-class Thais. Then, a tycoon named Thaksin Shinawatra used his money to build a political party that he later used to vie for the prime minister’s post. He used policies that appealed to the poor people in the countries. He would give loans to them so that they would start their businesses. In addition, he offered cheap health care. This move won over the poor people who eventually elected Shinawatra, so he won with a landslide. Once in power, he became an autocrat. He curtailed media freedom and launched a campaign against Muslim insurgents. The middle class, who had led the first revolution, had a chance to fight Thaksin Shinawatra, but they had realized that democracy was not as good as they thought it would be. Thus, democracy benefited the poor at the expense of the middle class. Instead of using democratic means, such as courts and the media, the middle class of the country protested against Thaksin Shinawatra, calling for the previous reign of democracy in the country. As a result, they launched a military coup, and the autocrat was overthrown. The coup only proved to be a disappointment. As much Shinawatra had damaged democracy in the country, the military ruined whatever was left of it. Now, the military determines the politics of the country. Government opponents are killed by military sanctioned hits. The freedom of press in the country is ranked among the lowest. Thailand is a good example that democracy may boom at first, but later, chances are that it will come down crumbling.
In the present day, numerous countries have abandoned democracy as well. China was also a democratic state. Today, however, the flaws that exist in the political system of the country are easily seen. There only exists one political in the country, and the people, who call for multiparty politics in the country, are punished. The United Arab Emirates is also not a democracy. The citizens are not given the right to make decisions on their political leadership. Instead, dynastic rulers of the seven dynasties decide for their people. In Kyrgyzstan, the Tulip Revolution in the country was led by Kurmanbek Bakiyev. However, he turned out to be a dictator just as his predecessor.
It is evident that democracy, when properly cultivated, leads to great development in the country. As such, it is paramount for democracy to be persistently cultivated and carefully sustained. Thus, the case of Thailand had shown that the country was on the rise, economically and also in the upholding of civil rights, until the reformers thought that the country would take care of itself and continue upholding democracy. As such, it is very important to put into place the measures that will ensure that democracy prevails in a country. There are also beliefs that people have, but they are wrong. For instance, there is the notion that only those qualified to vote have the right to complain. This is wrong since the right of speech should be granted to every person, whether they cast votes or not. People should also know that voting only is not sufficient for democracy to prevail. Citizens of a country should effectively participate, and every person should have political equality. Civic education should be conducted so that citizens could be educated to understand their rights and responsibilities. Democratic countries should also have free and fair elections frequently. People should also know that democracy is guaranteed not by the constitution but by the beliefs and attitudes that the citizens hold. As observed, the military has played a great role in countries where democracy has failed. Therefore, it is important to keep it in check so that it did not turn against democracy. Thus, it is important to have the institutions in place that will act as watchdogs to ensure that the government does not limit the civil liberties.
In conclusion, President Adams may have seemed pessimistic when he said that democracy never lasted. However, it can be seen that democracy may prosper at first, but eventually, it fails. This can be attributed to the tendency of humans to yearn for more power. Ghana may have seemed to have a great potential to prosper once Kwame took over power; however, he decided that he wanted to hold on to power for the rest of his life. Thailand also had the same hopes, but once people stopped concentrating on democracy, it failed. Democracy is paramount for the development of any nation. Hence, the citizens of these nations have a role to play in ensuring that democracy prevails, and that it exists to serve the greater good.