Just like a student too distracted to perform well, democratic countries seem to lack focus and resolve. Forget some nascent ones, which are more like “demo crazies”, even the developed western societies are losing steam. The biggest by numbers, India, even thrives in near anarchy that goes by the name of democracy. People have the right to vote and that is about it! The entrenched ones rule the roost but it is more like the rest wanting to stay away from the responsibility that goes with getting to political office. The media highlights all the ills of corruption, nepotism, absence of rule of law, lack of governance but where are the solutions? Who will bell the cat? It seems just beyond them all! None has the answers!
The people do want the government to deliver, but also want freedom to live as they please. The rich and powerful want to make money-power count. For those in power, the temptations to make quick money are too real as they could lose office in a jiffy! The whole system becomes short term; make hay when the sun shines applies, ad nauseam. Even some are wondering whether the uprising of rage in Arab countries could spillover to democratic countries on the brink of system failure.
It is no more business as usual. China, with one party rule, has stolen a march over everyone else. For them, it is growth at any cost, without ever taking their eyes off the ball. Many feel they could trip over at that pace, with income differential becoming more pronounced. The poor are increasingly clamoring for freedom, justice and share in the prosperity. But the purse strings are loosened by the top-down system to survive and maintain cohesion. For them, western types of democratic systems are anarchic. They also look back at the Soviet Union break-up that gives them nightmares. It is a clear top-down system, with rule of law enforced even brutally. Even top leaders found guilty have been executed. That shows real resolve and they mean business. Give them some credit, however grudgingly!
Can democratic systems match up to such levels of summary justice? Of course not, as due legal process takes time with procedures to be followed. But in few countries, they are stalled forever inviting pressure and delaying tactics. The judiciary is increasingly rising to the occasion, questioning the government and holding them to accountability. But people want quick justice and the system to work. It is a tough nut to crack!
Democratic systems are bottoms up, with leaders beholden to their support base. There are no leaders without their mass of supporters and popularity counts. It is never easy to ignore them and get on with the business of governing. The bottlenecks are too real but also the high expectations of the people who are increasingly feeling let down. The general view, India shines despite the bad political system that works against the true potential of over a billion people!
What can an uprising achieve? How can systems be cleansed and made to perform? Where are the real leaders? Politics are a put-off for the elite and educated who think any stepping into the scene will sully their names and their motives questioned! Then it will be much fury and sound, much ranting against the system and the common man used as a pawn by few wily politicians to amass wealth! Billions of dollars are slashed way in secret offshore bank accounts by the wealthy, but none wants to go after the culprits for the simple reason, they also want also to enjoy in the spoils!
In the absence of a better system where the people can still exercise their choice to elect their leaders, democracies could survive by default! But it is indeed a shame that we have no solutions in sight to set right and find justice? Few take advantage perennially and short change the majority forever. The basics of justice elude the man in the street and democracy proves a mirage in their yearnings for a better future.
We are still far away in our mental development; easy to be manipulated and few able to enjoy the fruits at others’ cost. The solutions look to be beyond us despite the highlighting of ills every moment. All developments and progress ring hollow when basic justice is denied to the toiling and suffering majority, yearning for genuine justice. We carry our guilt and justice delayed is justice denied; alas, no system is able to deliver justice! A blot on humanity!