Democracy is a system from the people, for the people and by the people. Hence, for any change to be in acted in the democratic system, it has to come through the people. In today’s tumultuous times, when one man is imposing his personal ambitions over the lives of his country’s people and those that of its neighbour, in the form of a full-fledged war. When a terrorist organisation has a country to govern in its laps, when a regime in enforcing religion as a symbol of authority on its people and is brutally cracking down on them in instances of protests, when a nation’s military has hijacked political power, annihilating its institutions and is constantly exploiting human rights, when a nation’s people have had one family run and ruin their lives over 3 generations, in form of the most ruthless dictatorship ever. When the world is grappling with crisis emitting from non-democratic states, while also facing existential threats in form of climate change, we need to reflect on and respect the democratic value governing our countries.
No system is perfect and the same is for Democracy, but as global citizens, we need to decide – what sort of political system does justice to our fundamental human rights? Allows us freedom and liberty? Let us decide how we lead our lives. Lets us choose who we want to be governed by. And if we have the authority to dissent and protest power? – these are the questions that each global citizen needs to reflect on. Democracy is flawed. Agreed. But, is it more flawed than a regime where you cannot worship, express or live freely? – the answer is simple, No. As citizens of the 21st century, not only do we need to assess the quality of life under different political systems but also the efficiency of these systems to tackle humanity’s greatest common challenges. The Climate Crisis, pandemic or global economic issues – which system can be the most effective to deliver the best results for the people? We need to take into consideration the accountability of different forms of government to the people, as accountability is a fundamental prerequisite for a government to deliver on public interests. Unequivocally, democratic governments score the highest on accountability and if they are not responsible then they are put to judgment through elections. Hence, considering all facts and aspects, democratic governments are more considerate of public interests and deliver more effectively on the same, against any other form of government. Therefore, for humanity to get through the climate crisis, ensure economic and political stability, maintain peace and tranquillity and for us to live a life of freedom & dignity – we need to have democratic governments everywhere.
The established fact is that Democratic governments are the most optimistic and hopeful form of government. It is true that the performance of democratic governments varies from region to region and that even democracy is vulnerable to loopholes. Further, there is
significant scope for improvisation in democratic structures and functioning in different regions. However, the core value of democracy is fundamental to and is the essence of human existence. The success and flourishing of democracies from ancient Athens to modern India are attributed to the public acceptance and success of these values. The fact that every authoritarian regime attempts to portray itself as a democratic one is a concrete evidence, that though ostensibly, public interests can be served through these values alone. The issue lies in the perusal and adaptation to these core values. Democratic values such as freedom, liberty, equality, fraternity, sovereignty inter alia are the foundation of a prosperous and welfare state and most democracies have enshrined them in their constitution. The obstacle arises in form of political motives and vendettas of different political outfits, prioritising their particular ideology, benefits or individuals over these fundamental principles. This has led to in certain cases the unfortunate compromising on these values and has caused deterrence in public faith towards democracy. This only provides an opportunity for sick lunatics and political cults to capitalise on this public discontent over democracy and contrive regimes where only their interests are served well, while public interests rot due to negligence.
There is another ludicrous notion of Democracy being a cause of flummoxed decision making and stagnant growth. That the government and opposition are always at loggerheads and this leads to comprising in public welfare. While this might be true to a certain extent, it is a very vague and varnished explanation of the real causes involved. A health democracy consists of a vibrant opposition, which contradicts the government on all issues and presents an alternative to the people. And the government to enact its legislation and accomplish its goals has to go through thorough discourses and deliberations with its political counterparts. This leads to intricate dissection of the subject or issue and provides space for modification leading to enhanced results. Further, any comparison between spontaneous decision-making by an individual or a single authority with healthy decision making through debates and apt parliamentary procedures by multiple parties makes little sense. Yes, political parties might use democratic procedures to stall the government’s motives, however, the solution to this is the adaptation of a responsible temperament by political outfits and not an alternate system without any opposition or debates.
The positive take, however, is that the solution to the vindictive politics of polarisation in Democracy also lies in Democracy. The solution lies in the people’s power to vote and elect their leaders, whom they can hold accountable, feel comfortable with and who uphold their
trust. In fact, all problems and shortcomings of democracies can be nullified by the concept of “Vox populi, Vox Dei” or that the “Voice of people, is the voice of god”. Hence, the power of elections by the people is a democracy’s way of rectifying its own muddle and filth. Therefore, drawing from the very beginning of the essay, democracy is a people’s concept of
governing themselves through those chosen by them and its success or failure solely depends on the people’s awareness, the judgement of good or bad and avidity in politics of their nation. Ultimately, the source of power our the people and authority is vested through their vote. Hence, active participation in electoral processes, awareness of government functioning on policies for fair judgment, public acumen to not be influenced by politics of division and fanatics and strong aspirations and expectations from their chosen leaders – the people need to ensure that their vote is the cause of strength for democratic values and democracy. Filth attempts its way everywhere, and so is with democracy, but through judicious decision-making, the people of a nation have the power to cleanse it. Further, there needs to be an unequalled veneration of democratic values in every voter’s heart and mind, making it explicit for compromising on these values to not be tolerated by the people. Therefore, pushing political outfits to align their interests and motives with the core values of democracy.
As citizens of democratic nations, we might be disgruntled with democracy or democratic politics or politics of votes and elections at times. But, we must never forget that the ultimate authority is us and that democracy provides us space to express our displeasure against any particular form of politics. But do we have this space in any other form of government? Moreover, is there any comparison of the severity of issues faced by a citizen of an authoritarian regime with that of a democratic one? Hence, we must never forget and forgo our faith in democracy, for the loss of faith would only lead to political revolutions to other forms of government that will ultimately kill ‘faith’ as we know it. Our faith should never waver from democracy, discouraging us to participate in electoral processes or inclining us towards politics of polarisation and jingoism. Instead, we must reinstate our faith through active engagements in electoral processes and by the invigoration of political outfits – best suited to uphold the standards of democratic values. Democracy’s only strength and basis is the people, and if the people so chose to let go of it, then it shall go. However, we need to realise and assess the consequences of letting go of democracy and even if it would be of any comparison with the worst nightmares that democracy could have given us. Therefore, the only change in democracy, synonymous to the people, to make it better – is through wise choices in the elections and by society’s collective unwavering commitment to democratic values and principles. And, finally, something better than democracy – is a more efficient democracy.