The general public of America believes that our country is democratically governed. The majority of the nation believes that democracy means something along the lines of popular sovereignty, that the United States government is run by and for the people. We like to think that belonging to a democracy means that each and every individual has an equal amount of control over the directions that its government takes. This is simply not the case. A much more elitist form of government known as pluralism runs our country. Not only is it improbable that our nation is a democracy, it is also very near impossible to govern it as such.
The democratic way of thinking reflects a commitment to individual rights of life, liberty, and property and to equal opportunity for all individuals. These rights entail that each individual has the same chances to develop their lives and exercise their opinions. It recognizes the liberties of minorities in their effort to become majorities. This keeps the power always flowing so that every person has the same amount of input into public policy, the laws and codes that govern us. According to John Dewey, "the keynote of democracy as a way of life may be expressed as the necessity for the participation of every mature human being in formation of the values that regulate the living of men together." Basically, a classic democracy is based on direct participation between citizens and public policy. Politics are not mediated through other people or institutions and there is no separation between those who rule and those who are ruled. Interactive citizens directly influence public policy, therefore citizens must be interactive.
These ideals are highly unrealistic in the actual running of our society. The sheer size of the nation alone is far too large to try and govern democratically. Inequality is inevitable with such a large population. Citizens would have to be equal in wealth, education, knowledge, intelligence, and leadership among other things.