Over the past years, the United States has witnessed numerous political disputes that have increasingly threatened the stability of its democratic system as they have resulted in a lack of proper communication and cooperation amongst the government and its people. Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley shares her thoughts on how working towards an inclusive democracy can lead to an increase in government legitimacy today.
“The 2020 Annual Freedom House Report finds that democracy, civil liberties, freedom, minority rights, and pluralism have been in decline globally for 14 consecutive years, along with the United States’ own ranking” (Freedom House).
The United States has witnessed a wide range of disputes and protests over the past couple of years that have weakened political leadership and social trust between the government and its people, as a consequence, the legitimacy of democracy has been negatively affected in the country. Moreover, middle and low income local communities live in a daily struggle of not being contemplated as individuals with human rights by elites and government institutions in spite of extensive and powerful movements created to demand justice to those who have been historically excluded in both social and political events. Even though progress in some cases have been somewhat evident “ultimate outcomes are unclear, and the protests in general have yet to usher in a new period of global democratic progress” (Freedom House). As a result, citizens have lost the desire to cooperate as a whole to achieve social well-being. Such consequences have increased polarization amongst citizens and a lack of proper communication that exacerbates the deficiency of trust amongst the government. These factors have proven to hold a current weight in influence when measuring the nation’s democratic stability. In addition, a research survey conducted by Pew Research Center in 2020 reveals that the share of Americans who say they trust the government just about always or most of the time has been below 30% during the last three presidencies.
Suffolk Votes and Black Union Present commemorated Black History’s Month in February 2022 by acknowledging the importance of diversity and thus building an inclusive democracy over a panel discussion in the hopes of motivating young individuals to participate in government procedures to increase voter turnout.
Guest speaker Ayanna Pressley, shares her approach towards the process of reaching a common good by focusing on education and improving the quality of life of citizens by recalling the basic principles that constitute a democracy. Pressley’s perspective focused on the intellectual development of individuals by stating how young generations should not be concerned about housing prices, student loans, or job opportunities. Instead, they should focus on their ambitions that will lead them to flourish as human beings. She continues by affirming the importance that educational institutions must focus on giving its students the proper tools to discuss a certain issue with morale, to act according to one’s own values and virtues, and to express their feelings and concerns in a peaceful and logical manner for the purpose of creating a positive change.
To successfully increase the trust and cooperation from its citizens, political elites must work towards building an inclusive and diversified democracy in the hopes of strengthening cooperation and participation levels amongst the government and its people. Youngalists should be influential in every movement that seeks for change; however, modern society witnesses a lack of motivation amongst new generations to participate in government decisions and elections as leaders fail to deliver realistic promises to address certain issues. By choosing not to participate, citizens are obliged to live in a system that works for the convenience of only a small percentage of individuals rather than for the interest of the whole.
Good governance aims to improve social, economic, and political policies for the development of the nation. Since human beings are interdependent to one another despite race, gender, or social group, authority is responsible for maintaining high levels of participation rates in a society either through informal consultations or formal institutions to reach a common good. Leaders have the responsibility to safeguard a citizen’s right to vote and prove that participating in government decisions, such as voting, delivers a meaningful change to all local communities for the purpose of improving their quality of life. It is necessary to encourage all communities to express their positions on issues that are relevant to them by equally prioritizing education and transparency at all times to individuals. Building an inclusive and more diverse democracy will motivate younger generations to participate and act for positive change in the long term. By approaching an organized and realistic solution to a specific socioeconomic or political issue, there is hope that political leaders could gain individuals’ trust which will strengthen the current political system as they reach for a solution that benefits the common good of its citizens.