March 29, 2012

The burden of keeping our democracy is on the common man

It’s the common man who must keep democracy alive. It’s not in the general interest of those we elect to do so. The political chaos in so many of our world’s so labeled democracies vouch for this. As a temporal process in our developing nations, the election date is a moment that separates two opposite vistas of the democratic process. Before elections, advocacy for the benefits of democracy is the rousing cry, but after the event, such advocacy is hushed into uneasy silence. This dichotomy is stark when in our societies, those aspiring for power have the bigger voice and the public have very little. This dichotomy can be transformed into a continuum when the common man begins to give strength to his voice. The stronger the public's voice, the more humble the other will become. Ultimately the essence of democracy operates when the public’s interest will be dedicatedly accommodated by those whom we raise to the positions of public leadership.

But for a society to reach this pinnacle, at least two things must happen. That public must be well informed and educated -- not just a schooling that epitomizes the mere banking of information, but the infusion of responsibility and character; and the other being the need for us to be compassionate as a community. For Maldives, both pose huge challenges, but the second being ever more the harder of the two, for in a world full of the glitter and draw of materialism to which we have become so accustomed, the effort will be gargantuan, for such a paradigm of development makes us blindly competitive and selfish. We will need originality and inventiveness to overcome the barriers that confront us. However, it is these very aspects that must be nurtured for democracy to prevail in a sustainable way.

With sincerity and committed leadership, we can do it -- through good education and nurturing good parenting. But for the 20 years hence, by which we can hope to expect such harmony to be a way of life in our Maldivian society again, we need to manage the turbulence of this interim period that has for many reasons not had the blessing of both of the above. To manage this present, its imperative we put down our cudgels and come to the table for dialogue and redefine the future we want to create.

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