Democracy is government by the people, especially government by the common people. For our purposes, we could say that democratic politics is the activity of human groups, communities and societies co-creating their future together.
Representative systems and voting are basic to a republic, but are not the essence of democracy. The essence of democracy is public discourse, dialogue, deliberation - the conversations of publicly concerned citizens about public issues, facilitated by freedom of information, expression and thought - through which We the People clarify our intentions, share our knowledge, discover common ground and coordinate our daily lives and programs for mutual or collective benefit.
When a democracy is a majoritarian republic (as in the case of the U.S.), there is often a lot of adversarial activity and debate going on, as well as manipulation and ignoring of public opinion.
The development of dialogue and deliberation as a field, and improving the capacity of groups, communities, states and countries to use their differences creatively as resources for the Common Good, can help ameliorate (or even replace) the most dysfunctional aspects of the pseudo-democracies that exist. This work can bring greater democracy - greater capacity for We the People to self-organize our affairs and co-create our shared future -- especially as we learn how to create institutions which bring empowered dialogue and deliberation to the center of political and governmental activity.
The original material on this page was written by Tom Atlee. For more information on this perspective on democracy, see http://co-intelligence.org/CIdemocracypolitics_theory.html