The programmatic ingredient of democracy is all too familiar to need belaboring. Briefly, democracy requires contending leaders and parties, election and representation, popular participation, education and information. It also rests on popular control to assure responsibility, responsiveness, and accountability of public officials. On a personal level, democracy calls for openness, tolerance, empathy, and flexibility.
At times, the programmatic dimension of democracy has entailed an expansionist element as well. Thus, for instance, when Woodrow Wilson set out "to make the world safe for democracy," his hope and ideal were, in effect, to universalize the values of the American civilization.
The social base of democracy incorporates the entire citizenry, except the fringe groups on the very right and the very left. Seldom, however, do we expect the "entire citizenry" to agree on any major issue. As a result, as is commonly known, democracy is a political system in which conflicting issues and demands are settled by peaceful means. Violent exceptions do take place from time to time, however, as seen in the convulsions of Western democracies in the 1960s.
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