To start this, I’ll first quote former U.K. Conservative Prime Minister Winston Churchill, who said about democracy that it is the worst form of government except for all the rest. I naturally agree with this, especially living in a country of 310 million people where average Americans might be familiar with their favorite pop culture celebrity’s eating habits but probably couldn’t name their U.S. Representative or U.S. Senators or even mayor and governor if you spotted them a couple clues and even said their names.
The only thing I would add to Churchill’s comment is that liberal democracy, to me at least, is the worst form of government except for all the rest because you are literally trusting individuals with their own lives and having the state back off and both regulate how we interact with each other and protect us from American criminals as well as foreign invaders. Then I take you back to the pop culture celebrity reference to point out that we have many ignorant people in this country who need to know as much as possible about things that frankly aren’t important in general, but are clueless about issues that actually affect their quality of life, for example, the right to privacy.
Liberal democracy only works as well as the people allow it to work. They need the skills to make intelligent decisions not just about their own lives but also about their choice of who will represent them in government. You do not have to be a political junky to be a good citizen, but you at least need to know what goes on in government and what our representatives are doing with our money or to our individual freedom.
To paraphrase the great political satirist George Carlin (and I’m not sure a better political satirist is alive or has ever lived), politicians are only as good as the people who hire them and who they work for, so if you have bad politicians and voted for them, you have only yourself to blame. But if you take the time to research those you are considering voting for, from any party, and they have a good record and they represent you well, if you then vote for them, you are an intelligent and engaged citizen and a well-qualified voter.