1. Representative democracy lets each of us have a role in choosing our leaders, and thereby hold them accountable to us. That’s a big improvement over the monarchies of old and the dictatorships and autocracies of today. (See our modules America Democracy or Republic and Democracy is Precious.)
- Our leaders are accountable to us, whether they like it or not.
- Our leaders are accountable to all of us, whether we like that or not. If that last point makes you uncomfortable, please consider the next big idea.
2. Representative democracy is a way to choose leaders and policies using ballots rather than bullets. There is no need to be fearful that your country will slide into civil war or genocide – if the institutions of your republic are functioning well. (See our module on Trust and Mistrust.)
- In a republic such as ours, we expect leaders to earn the votes needed for their election.
- The key to earning votes is convincing people to switch sides. Strangely enough, that requires us to welcome and trust people who are not like us – people who might be willing to switch sides if we could accommodate them on a few issues here and there.
There’s a deal to be made: we get to have leaders who are accountable to us, and we get to choose our leaders peacefully – but only if we are willing to accept that our leaders will be accountable to all of us, not just some of us, and only if we are willing to trust our fellow Americans enough to accommodate them on a few policies and thus earn their votes.
Want to learn more?
Please see our learning materials at CFFAD.org.