The paradox of democracy

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Politicians should have the decency and moral ethics to go back to the polls or simply resign, says the author.

Democracy is conceived to be the best form of government but the myth soon splinters in reality. It is common knowledge that our democracy is lagging far behind in terms of vitality and vibrancy compared to the great democracies of the world. Polls after polls, our so-called democrats are unmasked once they are propelled to ministerial chairs. They garb the mantle of demi-gods encircled with sycophants and boot-lickers and speak in a different tone.

They are transformed into grave-diggers of our democracy. They become paranoiac and are the epitome of arrogance and cynicism. They are allergic to criticism and they lambast the media, reckoned to be the scapegoats of their failings – the same media to which they kowtowed day and night before to achieve power. They like to be flattered cut away from the reality of the day. They hoodwink the population with populist rhetorics

Democracy is firmly founded on rule of law, separation of powers and parliamentary sovereignty, bulwarks of democratic edifice. We always flex our muscles to brag of being westminsterial democracy. But in what ways do we apply the principles of British democracy? Who says that we apply such principles? It is common knowledge that our citizens no longer trust politicians and political institutions. They have been taken too often for a ride.

Once elected, the chosen members live in ivory towers and drink power and privileges to the lees. Is it surprising to find lower and lower turnouts in elections? As the population gets more educated, this has not translated into more vibrant democracy. Politicians take the population as mere fools. They arouse fear, communal hatred, suspicion and frustration by their inflammatory speeches during the campaign. They fiddle with their emotions to the highest pitch to reach the pinnacle of power and once their high-vaulting ambition is gratified, they barricade themselves.

Pitifully, nearly all our institutions suffer from a democratic deficit. But who is to blame if not our- selves? We get the politicians we deserve. It is unimaginable that the political class has not rejuvenated for the past decades. Year in, year out the same slogans are tuned on. The root of this democratic deficit is apathy. Aristotle wrote that democracy based on elections is more aristocratic than democratic. The contract of re- presentation that binds the population to elected members has lost its legitimacy. There has been a constant erosion of this contract.

Participatory democracy becomes meaningless when the government anaesthetises the population with wine and dine. Our education system is to blame as it promotes rote learning and does not promote citizenship and critical thin- king. Once a certificate is obtained, an individual confines himself to his cocoon after getting a job by fair or foul means to survive. Only his interests prime. A discontinuity in representative democracy inhibits the democratization of democracy.

The language politicians babble differs from what they have used before. They have a split personality. One language for opposition and another one is for the ruling posture on the other side of the fence. “Government is Government and Government is made to govern”, so hammers a minister.

What is more revolting is to find the increasing number of turncoats nowadays crawling in the corridors of power waiting for the least falling morsel. They cross the floor or they create their own parties. Do they represent any segment of the electorate or their own shadow? Is it democracy? It is an insult to those who have voted for them. They should have the decency and moral ethics to go back to the polls or simply resign.

History has shown that many politicians of such type are long buried in the dustbins. They no longer have the credibility. We really feel pity, not to say disgust, for them.

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