Democracy is nothing but a politician's catch phrase

We march behind anyone who peddles a dream, but never feel worthy enough to form a movement around our own dreams.

Zeba Ansari January 18, 2013
Our world today seems to be in a constant state of revolution. Somehow, revolution brings a romanticised solution to all that is wrong with a corrupt bureaucracy. 

Whoever promises the most drastic changes, the most extreme improvements, the most cacophonous, clamorous, and deafening rhetoric, is guaranteed a captive audience and an avid following.

One thing that these masters of spin can count on is the common man's desperate desire for a better life, their despairing hope that the world has something finer to offer - if only they can find a charismatic, catalytic leader to make change happen for them.

We, the man on the street, also known as the citizen and the unit most in need of the aforementioned “better life”, are the most vocal advocates for a revolution.

According to public opinion, revolution will bring democracy, and with democracy will come peace, lawfulness, good fortune and prosperity.  What we fail to realise in our desperation is that a government of the people and for the people does not begin and end with democratically-held elections, but must continue on as democratic governance. These are assignments of accountability, not appointments of entitlement.

In our hunger for change we listen for the word “democracy,” which has become nothing more than the politician’s catch phrase, a perfunctory buzzword, a siren song. We fail to realise that democracy is a form of government for the people—and people are different in every country.

Thus, by default, the democracy of each country must be tailor made for its population and not the copy of another country's governance. Laws necessary and successful in one thriving democracy might prove to be abject failures in another. This could be due to differences in culture, history, religion, and other myriad possibilities.

We have to study our chronicles, the good along with the bad.

We have to analyse what worked and what failed miserably within our own country to see what we want and what we desperately need.

When we look at democracy through a theoretical paradigm invented by the West, we see something that we yearn for, but which might not be the solution for us.

Our form of governance has to be as unique as our nation.

Instead of looking for a leader from among us, we look outward and upward for guidance, and so we have become a nation of followers. We will willingly march behind anyone who peddles a dream, but we never feel worthy enough to form a movement around our own dreams. So we pin our hopes and our hearts on anyone who is willing to lead us, never questioning loyalties, agendas, or ulterior motives. As a result, we are either left heartbroken and bitter, or continue fiercely loyal and blind to the obvious charade.

A revolution has to come from within the masses. We have to push away from the wall against which our backs have rested for the longest time. The elite lack the will to recast a state that seems to be working well for them. They may start the journey with an honest enthusiasm, but lose their convictions somewhere along the way.

Leaders have to come up from within us, from our roots, our kin. Until then, we will continue to be the fodder for another’s revolution.

Read more by Zeba here or follow her on Twitter @zebansari
WRITTEN BY:
Zeba Ansari
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.

Facebook Conversations

COMMENTS (12)

Rex Minor | 7 years ago | Reply | Recommend A refreshing and an excellent write. Democracy may be a catch word in Pakistan, but democracy is the only universaly accepted science for the humanity of our times. We have tried monarchy, authoritarian forms as well as collective leaderships, but they did not stand the test of times. Democracy simply means that people in a community form a consensus to administer their affairs and tackle their social and economic order. You are absolutely clear when you imply that democracy of one country is not transferable to another country, what is important however is equaly that one does not take over or copy the PROCESS from another country and hope that Democracy will work. Pakistan is a country but not a nation, it does not have a democracy but its political elites and the media pretend that that theirs is democracy. Pakistan must first decolonise its institutions including its colonial structured military, administration and beaucratic structures replacing them with innovative an original ones own. There is long road ahead, but the fact you realise that the political leadership of the country has been telling fibs to the common man is a very good start after 65 years. Rex Minor
Sane | 7 years ago | Reply | Recommend Democracy is the best revenge. Revenge from people of Pakistan. We have seen this revenge in uninterrupted 5 democratic years and more will see after next elections. Democracy - All politicians slogan must be 'United we stand against the will and well-being of people'.
VIEW MORE COMMENTS
Replying to X

Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.

For more information, please see our Comments FAQ