If democracy looked like something, it wouldn't look like protestors marching and chanting "This is what democracy looks like!"
No, it wouldn't look like that at all.
Protestors should be chanting "This is what a protest looks like!" The democratic party cheerleaders should be shouting "This is what democracy looked like - 100 years ago!"
Time for an upgrade.
Have you ever noticed those that are represented in our 'democracy' never have to protest? There is no marching in the streets for tax cuts or financial deregulation. Yet, that's what keeps happening.
Nobody was holding up any signs to tell the government to repeal the Glass-Steagall Act that allowed gambling with bank deposits, but that's what happened.
There were no bankers marching down the streets protesting for bailouts of their toxic assets facilitated by the aforementioned legislation, but bailouts were provided with bipartisan support.
Pharmaceutical and insurance companies didn't have to march down the streets to prevent the government from collective bargaining of drug pricing for Medicare recipients. But sure enough, the government stepped right up and made that happen.
Yet, when there was tens of millions of people in the streets protesting against going to war with Iraq, they were all ignored by the government.
There was no organized street protests calling for the creation of Homeland Security, or to pass the Patriot Act, or to retroactively legalize domestic spying, but that's what happened.
There are no mobs in the streets now calling for more drones to protect us, nor are there protests to purchase more security scanners for airports, but that is what's happening.
Yet, when protestors occupied streets nationwide for months to protest the lack of prosecutions for the Wall St. crimes that caused the current economic crisis, the government coordinated with local officials in pepper spray sweeps to arrest them.
Face it, street protests don't work and they never have. Protestors are demonized as filthy misfits by the establishment. Civil disobedience in the form of street protests can be useful for promotional purposes to get some mainstream attention but they are likely to backfire, garnering more public disgust than support.
It is time for protestors to organize and vote. Protesting promotes the conflict-based economy and validates the public appropriations and oppression against them. Which is exactly what those who oppress them want because that is how they make their living.
If protestors want to stop war, prosecute white collar criminals, and create a more equitable society, it's first necessary to organize with like minded citizens, engage the political system and vote in order to achieve those goals.
Organize to promote a health-based economy. Those who profit from the conflict-based economy, those creating the debt and democratic decay, are a small fraction of the population. The public at large is anxious for a political alternative to conflict, despite what the media might be reporting.
Fighting the status quo is nearly the same as supporting it. That is what they want you to do. The conflict-based economy thrives on enemies. They will provoke you in anyway possible to fight them in order to justify their security expenditures. Don't believe those who say being arrested is a productive form of activism. The public needs to make the security state as obsolete as possible by being law abiding peaceful participants in the democratic process.
When enough people unite around a platform of law that is undeniably better than what we have, the current law will change and a more democratic society will emerge.
What will democracy look like?
Democracy functioning properly in the modern world would be transparent. Participation would be something we all do as part of our routines, like paying bills. It would be as simple as being informed and making decisions. How we enter our decisions into the interface will be as convenient as the technology allows. Certainly it would be an evolving process to better serve the needs of its participants as determined by their votes.
Rather than researching all of the candidates to choose from, you would enter your preferences and opinions about the issues that you are concerned with into the interface and your 'best match' candidates would be filtered from the many choices available. You could then study other issues and positions those candidates are concerned with to vote for a representative that will best represent your viewpoints and well being.
There would be no motivation for voter suppression because in a real democracy the citizenry would have attained a degree of equality that would allow for civility and unity of purpose. In a real democratic republic we would largely all be on the same side and there would be no reason for street protests.
Now, when conflict is a profitable investment for one side of the conflict, the side with the money, and their economic growth depends on them escalating the violence, protestors will always lose. Increased conflict in this environment is a foregone conclusion because it is a "good investment" for those with money to invest.
This is the conflict-based economy which profits from finding enemies like a fisherman profits from finding fish. A democracy profits from the public realizing a collective economic growth. A conflict-based economy benefits private interests at the expense of an adversary, normally another segment of the public.
Persecuting people for profit is not a new strategy. Our history books are full of examples of unjust persecutions of people for the sake of private profits. Whatever motives are declared by aggressive organizations or nations, the quest for money and the power that money brings is almost always the underlying truth of the conflict. Whether the conflict is presented as religious, nationalistic, or anything else, the true motive is never to achieve democracy.
So, we know what democracy doesn't look like. We can only imagine what it will look like because there's no believable historical precedent to compare to what is possible now. We do have the technology and the resources available now to achieve one. But, we don't have the political will or the educated electorate necessary to make it happen. Maybe if we begin to visualize what a real democracy could look like, by describing it and defining it, the chances of achieving it someday might improve.