(1) Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives. (2) Everyone has the right of equal access to public service in his country. (3) The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.
It is a sad truth that almost everyone on this planet lives without most of the rights in the Declaration. This is especially true of the rights laid out in Article 21. A right which we, as a Americans take so for granted as to barely exercise it is denied outright in many countries to particular groups and in a disturbingly large minority, to all citizens. In countries where universal suffrage is set down by law, barriers to voting have been put in place in the name of prudence or to “fight voter fraud.” These barriers always affect those with the least power to begin with, taking away what little they had. Unfortunately, of late, our own nation has become one of those countries.
It is even worse when you look at opportunities for the poor to take part in public office. The poorest members of our Congress still are wealthier, in real terms, than most Americans. Sure some of them are in debt up to their eyeballs, but that is because they come from economic backgrounds where it does not hurt to be hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt. Indeed as the linked article points out, some of them have the capacity to unload rental property worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, something well beyond the capability of the rest of us. Some might believe this is a call for public financing of elections, but you would not know that to watch our main stream media.
“Democracy is the worst kind of government, except for all the others.” A little wisdom from Winston Churchill. Democracy, when done right, when truly representative of the people, with some appropriate checks against mob rule, is the most just form of government. It gives even the poorest of us a chance to shape our own destiny. Anything that hinders that is an invitation to tyranny, something this nation, one founded on the fight against tyranny, gets closer to with every voter ID law and with each day we go without public financing of elections.