"The great enemy of clear language is insincerity.
When there is a gap between one's real and one's declared aims,
one turns as it were instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms,
like a cuttlefish spurting out ink.
In the case of a word like democracy, not only is there no agreed definition,
but the attempt to make one is resisted from all sides. It is almost universally felt that when we call a country democratic, we are praising it: consequently, the defenders of every kind of regime claim that it is a democracy, and fear that they might have to stop using that word if it were tied down to any one meaning
[From “Politics and the English Language”]
For anyone with sincere intentions, defining “democracy” is a simple matter. The word was formed from a combination of the Greek words “demos”, which means “people” or “the people” and “kratos” (meaning “rule”) and/or “kratia”, which means “have power” or “authority.” A democratic government is one in which the people rule (have power).
Working with a clear definition of democracy, judging whether a government is truly democratic is a simple matter. In a democracy the will of a majority of the people determines public policies and what laws are passed.
Democracy has a great many false friends, nearly all of whom are true enemies. Those of us who truly believe in democracy must learn to identify our allies and our opponents and work together to remove undemocratic elements from our Constitution, our elections, and our government.
"School of Athens" by Raphael
Our nation would be a very different place if our political system was truly democratic. Poll after poll indicates that solid majorities of voters are united, across party lines, in support of legislation that is nowhere close to being passed by Congress (or state legislatures), including a federal job guarantee, affordable health care for all, high-quality public education, reasonable gun control legislation, keeping Social Security solvent and increasing benefits to ensure that workers can live in dignity in retirement, as well as many other issues. None of those ideas are even close to being passed by Congress. All of these proposals would be public policy if the United States was truly a democratic nation. None of these policies will be implemented until we are a democratic nation.
On this web site you will find a step-by-step Action Plan for making our government more democratic, as well as an explanation of various forms of ranked choice voting - the key reform needed to make other necessary reforms possible.
"Goverment by the People" is not an organization. There is nothing to join (although you will find links to organizations working on ranked choice voting and other reforms). We hope you will find a considerable amount of useful and thought-provoking information here.
We hope that you will share links to this web site with other concerned citizens and encourage them to get involved. If you have suggestions for ways to improve the Action Plan proposed here or improve the effectiveness of this web site in other ways, please use the contact form to share your ideas.
The cost of maintaining this web site is minimal. You will not be asked to contribute financially (although we do encourage you to contribute time and/or money to support candidates and organizations engaged in the work of promoting reforms).
The material on this website is largely adapted from a soon-to-be-published book: Government by the People: a Concerned Citizen's Guide to Reuniting Americans by Living Up to Our Ideals by Winston Apple. Permission is hereby given to quote from this website, with proper attribution. You are also encouraged, of course, to share links to this web site freely. United we win.