This picture was published in The Nation newspaper on January 29, 1999.
My View Of The Picture:
On November 19, 1863, Abraham Lincoln referred to “representative democracy” as “… government of the people, by the people, for the people…”.
Now after almost 150 years people are realizing that instead of government of, by and for the people, democracy is no longer representative but is being used as a great tool to manipulate certain outcomes. I agree with two out of three parts of Abraham Lincoln’s description of democracy. First, I agree with “government of the people”, meaning that the people elect citizen representatives to make the laws. Second, I agree with “for the people”. Surely laws and policies should be in the interest of the people and not Monarchs or corporations. However, the third part “by the people” is the most interesting and debatable part of course.
The common definition of Democracy is “a form of government in which people choose leaders by voting”. For the implementation of democracy, the world has chosen the voting system. And in the voting system, the majority has the right to form a government.
Ok, democracy means the majority will rule others. Now everyone knows that the majority of people in a society consists of those who are less educated and intelligent. As a consequence, democracy means that less intelligent people select representatives of all, less according to intelligence and more as per their interpretation or liking. This is where I think the problem arises.
In my opinion, a person who still considers WWF wrestling to be real also comes under the definition of “less intelligent people”. Before I go further I want to clarify that I am not making fun of less intelligent people. I only point out a relevant fact. The example of WWF just came into my mind since some friends of mine do consider it real. Though I don’t consider WWF wrestling to be real, still I am 100% sure that I also fall under the category of “less intelligent people”.
Democracy is amazing in the sense that it requires everyone to vote, even those who know nothing about politics, policies or democracy. I have met persons who have even voted on the basis of the physical attraction of candidates. How to handle the less intelligent masses? How to manipulate them and how to play them for fools? These are the strategies which are being used by politicians in the arena of democracy. Even if before voting people get to know their candidates, the problem is that they know about the candidate only what they have been told and mostly told through media. A majority of us are used to believing what we are told without questioning the message. It is common that at the time of elections many things that might go against the election of a candidate can be purposely swept under the carpet so that ultimately the candidate, who should not be chosen, is finally selected.
The next interesting thing about democracy is how a “majority” winner is calculated. If there is a rule that the winner should take more than 50% of the votes then it is ok. Otherwise, take an example of three candidates. The winner takes 40% and two other losers get 30% each. Result-wise the winner has the right to form a Government in spite of the fact that 60% of votes went to the losers and the winner got only 40%. That’s the beauty of democracy.
Another problem with democracy is that it is a quantitative rather than qualitative procedure to select the best person to be a ruler. Though every procedure to select a leader has some flaws, as far as democracy is concerned it has serious flaws sufficient enough to make fools of a less intelligent majority and this is happening around the world.
The picture was taken inside the Indonesian parliament. Though I am not an up-to-date follower of Indonesian politics, it seems that Mr. Siswaya was being rightly grabbed by a person during his approval of new political laws for the upcoming Indonesian Elections. That person seems to be another parliamentarian using his democratic right to let Mr. Siswaya know that if democracy is being manipulated by the leaders, then it cannot be of the people, for the people and by the people.
Finally, kindly don’t consider me a person who is in favour of dictatorship etc. Of course I am not but I consider that democracy is used as a tool to maneuver and get a place in the palaces of the elected, fully controlled and supported by the corporate sector, using tools like media.