DEMOCRACY – A Reality Check?

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What is Democracy? Is Democracy applicable only when a candidate of your choice wins the round? Is it applicable only when your ideology grabs the most seats on the table?

If the answer is yes for the latter two questions, then you have a warped notion of Democracy.

Yes, the world, as such, has tilted noticeably towards the right as could be seen from the elections in India, Britain, and now USA and elsewhere.

But, that does not mean it’s a win for the ideology of the Right nor does it mean a defeat for the Left.

What is right wing or left wing or the fashionable terms – ‘centre of left’, ‘centre of right’?

No ideology is wrong. To think that the ideology which I follow or my ideology is the only correct ideology is wrong and that is the crux of the issue for the majority of the population everywhere.

One of Gautama Budhhas’ preachings were “Always follow the middle path.” It is so simple to listen to it but its equally hard to follow it.

Everything needs an equiibrium to function properly; a balance. Being a nationalist is not wrong, but becoming an ulra-nationalist is. Being a radical is not wrong, but becoming an ultra-radical is wrong. Again, they are not wrong, per se; but, the people are termed such because they are unwilling to listen to other people or understand other perspectives.

The world runs on multiple perspectives. The way an artist thinks of a design would be quite different from an engineers’ perspective and vice-versa. But, a person who can have both sets of perspectives would be able to build an ideal product appealing to all senses.

And that is how a democracy should run allowing every person to have the choice and option to voice her/his own opinion. Even dissent is a way to develop the country.

For all the people who protested when Shri Narendra Modi got elected, when Britain chose to exit the European Union, or even when Mr. Donald Trump got elected – yes, you can protest – that is your right. But, you need to accept the verdict too, no matter how wrong you might feel the result is.

Violent protests is a strict no-no in a democracy, especially when the person elected has not even been given a chance to demonstrate her/his leadership. Save the energy for days when people were slaved in the name of color, or killed in the name of race or religion. Do not wait for it to happen to you. The first instance of it, assemble and show your strength in numbers. In this day and age of smartphones, numbers really are something. Then, and then show that even liberals are willing to fight and fight till the end for that is not just a liberals’ fight, that becomes the fight for HUMANITY.

Recent elections have revealed the vitriolic nature of democracy and though that too is allowed to in democracy, it only shows the debase nature of a human being where it shows that people actually revel in personal attacks on rivals. Earlier too, it was done, but in a more polished manner. That too, shouldn’t have taken place as that is what has lead to the current situation.

Elections are supposed to be fought on issues, not on ideologies and very less by personal attacks on the rival. I might extremely dislike an individual, but the person is where they are because someone or the other loves them and thus has supported them. Now, multiply the same with hundreds of individuals.

Fight on issues – automatically, people would see the person behind the mask. Name-calling and vitriolic-filled campaigns could never be a part of democratic elections. But, this restraint has to come from individuals and cannot be forced upon by a higher authority – otherwise, it would be a tragic irony to live in a democracy.

The party/parties which got the maximum votes should always remember that when it forms the government – it becomes the government for ALL citizens of the country; it does not and cannot be a government just for those that funded its election campaigns.

It should especially realise that its most important task is to protect the rights of the marginalised; the voiceless. Policies framed by the government should ensure that while helping the country develop, while helping the economy to grow- the marginalised, the underprivileged are taken care of and are given a voice. The government should always work for their betterment, their upliftment and only then could a country truly develop. Only then could a nation be called as developing or the economy of a country be called as growing.

Otherwise, it would remain a hollow growth wherein just a small percentage of the population enjoys the perks of development whereas to a vast majority it remains inaccessible.

Money and power should not become influencers in a democracy. No entity should use their money to influence the policies or decisions of a government. They should provide their concerns and if valid, the government should consider them. And the government should use its power with discretion and not favor any specific entity. Its policies and decisions should be transparent to all.

Democracy also allows for people from conflict regions to take refuge. And assimilate into the country of their choice. But, the assimilation cannot be limited just to the new entrants.

Majority of the people of the world are all immigrants in their present country. Some immigated now, some a few years back and some centuries back.

Those that immigrated long time back cannot and should not dictate terms of how the new immigrants or refugees should or should not live.

Unless, the refugees or the new immigrants do not abide by the law of the land, no one should deny them to live their lives as they want.

These are the hallmarks of a true and thriving democracy that need to be reminded to most people in the present times as there is lot of hatred spreading across the world, especially in democratic nations which have long been beacons of hope for the rest of the world.

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