Respect (from Latin - respectus) means 'to look back, to see again'
Liberté, égalité, fraternité (in French) means 'Freedom, equality, fraternity'
The past century flew faster than any previous time period, because people engage in more and different activities. People move to distant lands that were unimagined in the past, in search of economic prosperity or to avoid political and/or religious persecution. The fusion of nationalities within any country is a challenge to old political constitutions that can't keep up with the changing times. Freedom of expression has many meanings, and when extremes are visible new challenges resemble the variants of old ways. The needs of many new immigrants are redefining demand and supply for many countries. In the developed nations, imaginative creation is shaping the future through technological innovations. But, prosperity comes at a price if not balanced.
Many people find it difficult to relinquish slower times for faster and better ones. The new world is seen as a threat because information can't be processed fast enough. Are people afraid of change or adaptation?
A society is a relationship created among organized groups of people whose goal is security, continuity and identity. Each social reality normally encompasses many cultures, and its physical dimension is represented through large territories of land that may include water boundaries. Social realities are usually referred to in human terms as countries, and their complexity differs according to population, background, codes of conduct (laws), material trade, spiritual understanding (religious beliefs), and social representation, which in earthly terms is translated as political governments.
The well-being of social awareness in a country is normally represented by the quality of mercy or compassion people exhibit among themselves through tolerance (respect), understanding, and unconditional aid. The driving force of a social reality is the democratic process.
The term "democracy" originated from the ancient Greek word "demokratia," and what it basically means that the people share the direct activities of the state through a designated government. The philosophy behind this is that people have the right to express themselves through the free expression of thought. This includes the freedom of ideas, speech, press, religious beliefs and gender identity.
It all sounds good only if people are self-responsible for their thoughts and actions. Otherwise, democracy becomes an ego-oriented way of life where everyone has an agenda. When democracy is comprised of multiple egos, then it becomes anarchy, and the same applies to free market economies. In our present world, most people think that the center of democracy is America. Is this because of the Statue of Liberty in New York or is it because America is an example of democracy? The most multicultural nation on Earth, the country that most people look up to is actually one of the least responsible when it comes to global affairs. What most people don't know about America (apart from it actually being a republic) is that the democratic system is constantly challenged by extremes, and in many cases the forces of inequality dominate the creation of global policies.
Presently, the fabric of human society is woven into politics, religion and economics. The motivator behind everything has always been knowledge. Knowledge is Power. When the transparency of power becomes polluted (corruption), knowledge becomes a manipulation for self-centered causes. In other words, if we are conditioned to believe that the social norm is decadence, escapism and denial, then progress is just an illusion that reflects an inferiority complex. The greatest threat to knowledge and power is tyranny, fanaticism and ignorance.
In a true democratic system the participating parties have to be self-responsible, and in order to respect and tolerate a multicultural society the political system needs to be separated from the obfuscation of religious doctrines. At the same time democracy has to evolve with changing times. Otherwise it's an agenda-oriented democracy where extremes are clearly visible. These extremes are usually instigated by a collective cultural ego that sometimes presents itself in pathological, materialistic behaviors. A more dangerous threat that can be manifested within this ego is oppressive religious beliefs - beliefs that allow no room for a multicultural society. Religious extremists/anarchists have no respect for members of the democracy whose beliefs differ. Their only goal is to advance their agenda - in extreme cases through criminal acts including extortion and even murder. We've seen evidence of this with the bombings carried out both by Muslim extremists and "Christian" abortion clinic bombers. Democracy can only flourish and grow when it is kept separate from the strict dictates of religions.
The basic ingredient for democracy is the understanding and respect for Human Rights . In order to fight religious and/or military anarchy, you don't have to become a monster in order to defeat a monster. Distorted, one-sided versions of the news/truth can and often do result in wars that lack any moral imagination. There is another way to deal with extremists - global diplomacy. If "dead" and "gone" were the same thing then there would be no United Nations (U.N.). Diplomacy is not translation, but the interpretation of thoughts. Expressions have different meanings when interpreting.
However, many politicians believe that democracy is being fogged by corruption, and humanitarian organizations are not excluded either. Lavishly funded elections are an indication of corrupt agendas. Many American politicians don't support the U.N. because of corruption scandals. But this is a naive, narrow-minded stance that the U.S. may ultimately regret. The purpose of United Nations is for countries to discuss and try to resolve world problems, and to provide economic and other aid to many countries. It's the only international organization we have and where we can talk under one roof. It's not perfect, but it can work if people elect more responsible and truthful politicians.
One thing to keep in mind is that democracy dies when there are too many lies. At that moment, the freedom of individuality, thought and knowledge become polluted into tyranny.
So, is democracy real? Of course it is real. Although a true democratic system doesn't yet exist, there are a few countries that strive to move closer to the definition. Today, the closest countries are probably the Nederlands, Belgium, Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. For democracy to work people need to be very open-minded and have a sensible approach to Life.
2004 was an interesting year for America. America's November elections shocked much of the world - leaving many wondering who controls the political system. Why does the American political system reflect the 1950's era? Is America a different kind theocracy? A lot of people don't understand the differences between spirituality and religion. Since we are spiritual beings having a human experience, it's logical for spirituality to reflect our behaviors. But, spirituality is not religion. You don't have to be spiritual to be religious. Religion divides people into something you must. When a government is ruled by a religious authority, then the political system becomes a theocracy. We see a common trend around the globe where political systems are compromised with campaign contributions from very well financed radical religious groups. As a result the political and social structure of a country finds it necessary to negotiate compromises with its own values.
On June 3, 2004, Bill Moyers - one of the most respected journalists in the States - held a conference at New York University focusing on inequalities within the American political system that are a result of some call "legalized bribery" (campaign contributions). Although Moyers's speech addresses the American democratic system, the same ideas are also applicable to most nations. You may download a transcript of his lecture, titled "Inequality Matters" (46KB). Also, another interesting lecture was held in St. Louis (Missouri) on May 15, 2005, and this time the main topic was "Media Reform" (61KB). The downloaded files are in .PDF format, and you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view the files.
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