December 26, 2011

The legacy of nationhood

In a democratic Maldives, we have a lot of adjustments to make to reap the advantage of democracy. The measure of the practice of the rule of law is one of the indicators of good governance in a democratic society.
True, our nature is to be free and so rules and regulations tend to stifle us. When these confront our desires we bend them, and if the strength of our emotional attachment to the desire in question, if strong enough, we even go onto break the rule. Some say that rules are made to be broken. While that adage must be taken with a grain of salt so to say, the over emphasis modern society places on rules and regulations to be the panacea for social ills is very ill placed. Often, we do little to uphold good laws ourselves as citizens of society, and of greater concern, the powers that be promulgating our laws don't provide the space to enforce these with the impartiality and sagacity required. Yet again, the ego’s call for selfish ownership comes in the way of good laws that are there to govern our behavior as a society. Where enforcement is practiced, the carrot and stick is the accepted one in most societies but more than the carrot, we are given the stick. As societies grow into urban communities, law enforcement becomes ever more complex and as the ever pervasive human foible of greed takes hold, corruptive forces sink deep to take away our dignity.
So when looking for alternative approaches of enforcement, it is not perhaps the traditional carrot and stick that will be the sustainable alternative. It has to be the good old nurturing of social values that must come to our rescue in building a caring society. Our schools and our homes must be made the support base to nurture these. We need to also come away from our assumed views that it is the government that must be solely responsible for it, yet we can’t shy away from selecting the right ones. In a democracy, it is ourselves that are the sources of the wisdom that will help our communities to be what we want them to be. We need to practice the values of good stewardship and good model behavior that our children will be incentivized to emulate. In the ultimate analysis, even our leaders are also at the same time parents, teachers and potential role models for our children. Our children can only learn from what we show them. They cannot be inspired otherwise. A good citizenry is what we must yearn to build and also hope to leave behind.

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