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Thursday, 8 November 2012

Democracy burns!

At 12:55 am on November 7, 2012 as I listened to Governor Mitt Romney giving his concession speech, I was struck by the burn and beauty of democracy.
Barack Obama

To the very subdued crowd, obviously disappointed that they will be denied getting their wish fulfilled, I saw that democracy guarantees only a choice to each eligible voter - it is nothing like choosing your favourite ice-cream flavour. In every election only one side will get its "desired flavour". Everyone else will hear, "Sorry, we're out of that flavour right now." Democracy burns.
But here's the beauty of the process as I continued to watch Romney. I saw a rich all-American family, complete with the "right colour", fail to garner enough support to dethrone President Barack Obama. Democracy really does offer a disadvantaged class a real opportunity to enjoy equal privileges in governance. That's beautiful.
What was also beautiful was, unlike the Romneys, the Obamas entered the stage together. Granted, after Romney's speech everyone came out. But that was a really nice touch by the president.
I should mention yet another side to democracy, it's an ugly side... it is divisive. Democracy seems to thrive on people of influence taking sides - and that should always be a right. But often the interest of the nation suffers because of this divisiveness. That needs to change, although we need to ensure that there is no collusion and that transparency is maintained.
There is no denying that of all the systems on earth today democracy is the best we have. Mind you, I've heard of one in antiquity that I would very likely prefer. It's a theocracy - a system where God is head of state. The interesting thing about this system, though, is that you have the option to choose to acknowledge God as head, and so is a form of democracy. Of course, choices, the main feature of a democracy, always bring consequences, which is why people are often so interested in knowing who the candidates are. Listen carefully to what the candidates have to say, know their track record, and make informed choices. Democracy works if you know how to work it. So, work it!
Charles Evans
charles.evans@ncu.edu.jm