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Defining democracy through art

By Steve Grove

Head of News and Politics

An Egyptian man says it’s like flying freely through the street in your pajamas. A Burundian YouTube user compares it to striking guitar chords to make a beautiful melody. An Indian videographer says it’s like coming together over a cricket game. And a Polish citizen says it’s like a roll of toilet paper. Though their messages are as diverse as the countries they come from, all of these videos are aiming to define something that philosophers have spent centuries debating: what is democracy?

Once again this year, we’re partnering with the State Department and several civic organizations on the Democracy Video Challenge, a global contest that asks people to submit short videos that complete the sentence, “Democracy is...” Starting today, you can vote on your favorite videos from among 18 finalists. The six most popular entrants will fly to the U.S. for a tour of civic and film organizations in Washington, D.C., New York City and Hollywood.

Head over to the Democracy Video Challenge channel page to log your votes now. You can vote once per day until June 15; winners will be announced shortly after. But don’t just vote...leave your comments on the video to let these videographers know what you think of their work. The project is meant to start a discussion. Though there’s no one answer, it’s through dialogue that our understanding of democracy continues to evolve.