Dissipating democratic political culture

Witoubou Newmai

We actually are not sure whether the real democratic political culture exists at all in our society. If not, who is responsible for such state of affairs?

It is always the honey-moon affairs between the candidates and their voters in times of elections, and they continue to hobnob without any illusion about their relationships till the elections are over. The farce only begins soon after the elections when people start allowing their vision to be complacently limited to the viewpoints of those for whom politics is all about wielding power.

Unless we do not deliberate thoroughly on “proper form and scope of political participation as to who should represent whom and on what basis or who should participate and in what way” (David Held), we will continue to go through the situation as we are today.

Otherwise, how many cases have we witnessed where the people or elected members, when they are not happy with things around them, go back to their respective constituencies/representatives to present their case? We are not familiar where the influence of constituencies and their people on their representatives is the case.

This is what happens when the culture of hero-worshipping overwhelms a society. Such a culture is also nothing but projecting the so-called leaders bigger than own aspirations. This is how we lay grounds for authoritarianism to thrive, and thereby dismantling tenets of democratic order where people have their say directly or indirectly.

The larger problem is not about the elections. This culture of projecting so-called leaders larger than own aspirations has been the reason why our society is overwhelmed by contradictions. This culture, in extension, has brought us to a situation where we are finding hard to differentiate between ‘idea’ and organisations. Can there be a true people’s movement when the people themselves are not able to distinguish between their aspirations and organisations/leaders?

A society that believes the dignity of people should believe that deliberations and procedures are bottom-up.

Due to our prolonged practice of the above-mentioned culture, we have made ourselves, for so long, to live where ‘trickling downward’ is also a culture, which, perhaps, is not trickling down well. As a consequence, confusions and doubts overwhelm the people. This state of affair, in turn, is creating divisions or broadening split among the people, thereby, giving rise for the spawning of more ‘leadership groups’ or the power centres. As the process of division accelerates, the focus of our society has become divergent and faint today.