The early weeks of this course emphasized the integral role that processes play in democratic governance. While democratic processes are important to democratic governance, they are sometimes slow and messy and may seem to be an impediment more than a means for resolving society’s problems. In addition, the daily operations of the democratic system create challenges to its very existence. Particular issues and challenges also may place a strain on democracy. One example is the tension between liberty and safety related to individual rights and personal security. Both issues highlight elements of founding democratic principles, yet they conflict and demonstrate discord within the microcosm of democracy. As a student of governance and public policy, it is important that you are aware of how challenges within democracy might impact day-to-day governance and policy making. Understanding these challenges may be helpful as you develop strategies to surmount them as they arise.
To prepare for this Discussion:
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- Review the media piece “Perspectives on the World Speaker Series: Politics in an Age of Partisanship with Christine Todd Whitman” and think about the role of partisan politics in democratic governance. Also, consider the conflict between partisan politics and policy making and how partisanship might impact policy making in a democratic government.
- Think about how the democratic process might hamper or challenge policy making and consider strategies that might be used to overcome those challenges.
- Revisit the Constitution of the United States (located in the Week 3 Learning Resources) to review democratic principles. Think about conflicts that may exist among those principles.
- Peruse the Internet, periodicals, or other current sources of information for current policy issues on the public agenda.
- Select a current policy issue (other than the one in the media piece) that poses a challenge to governance and/or public policy.
- Think about how democracy poses a challenge to resolving the policy issue by means of governance and/or public policy.
- Reflect on how we might overcome some of the limitations of democracy.
With these thoughts in mind:
Write a brief description of the policy issue you selected. Explain how democracy poses a challenge to the resolution of the issue by means of governance and/or public policy. Be specific and provide examples to illustrate your explanation. Explain how the democratic challenges to the resolution of that issue might be overcome.
If you live outside the United States, explain some of the challenges that democracy does (or would) face in your country.
Be sure to support your postings and responses with specific references to the Learning Resources while adhering specifically to APA style of reference.
- Gilley, B. (2009). Is democracy possible? Journal of Democracy, 20(1), 113–127.
Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.
- Santas, G. (2007). Plato’s criticisms of democracy in the Republic. Social Philosophy and Policy, 24(2), 70–89.
Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.
- Conversi, D. (2007). Democracy, nationalism and culture: A social critique of liberal monoculturalism. Social Compass, 2(1): 156–182. Retrieved from http://www.researchgate.net/publication/227683178_Democracy_Nationalism_and_Culture_A_Social
- Laureate Education (Producer). (2014a). Critiques of and challenges to democracy [Audio file]. Baltimore, MD: Author.
In this media piece, a subject-matter expert discusses how democracy poses a challenge to the resolution of a public policy issue by means of governance and/or public policy.
- Laureate Education (Producer). (2009b). Perspectives on the world speaker series: Politics in an age of partisanship with Christine Todd Whitman [Video file]. Baltimore, MD: Author.
Note: The approximate length of this media piece is 40 minutes. “Perspectives on the World Speaker Serires: Politics in an Age of Partisanship with Christine Todd Whitman” Transcript (PDF)
- Jenco, L. (2003). Thoreau’s critique of democracy. Review of Politics, 65(3), 355–381.
- Miller, J. (2002, Aug. 28–Sept. 1). Democratic rhetoric and democratic audiences. Paper presented at the American Political Science Association 2002 Annual Meeting, Boston, MA.