Friday, October 16, 2009

They Do Shoot Horses Don't They?

A solid case can be made that any creation, including that of a nation state, needs to fulfill the purpose for which it was originally created otherwise the process that enables it needs to be annulled. Furthermore let us presume, for the purposes of this discussion, that Westphalia is still relevant, which implies that the issue of sovereignty forms the basis of independence and self determination. Government became a part of the social contract only when it agreed to rule in such a way as to serve the governed since it derives its legitimacy and power from them. When the above general conditions prevail then government has a moral obligation to act on behalf of the governed and their interests. These interests are made public through various civil acts designed to demonstrate clearly their views on all important positions and policies. These views are usually best enshrined through the results of a vivid, lively and articulate electoral campaign.

As the above statement makes it abundantly clear the political leaders are in essence only agents that represent the will of the people who vote them into office in order to act on their behalf. These politicians must not misconstrue their political mandate to act on behalf of their electors as an absolute authority to abuse power and privilege and to take measures that will only help further their own selfish interests instead of the general welfare of the public. All acts and regulations are to be judged only in terms of the extent that they promulgate the national interest as expressed by the governed. Any failure by the rulers to promote the desires of the ruled would be grounds for dismissal and retirement.

The duties of the general public are not reserved to the occasional vote, as seminal as that might be. The general public has to take an active role in the operation of the system of governance through constant communication of its views regarding the daily developments and through active demonstrations of their approval or disapproval of the proposed legislation. Accountability rests with them and they have to safeguard their beliefs by exercising it unabashedly.

Once the current Lebanese impasse is viewed through this prism of responsible citizenship and accountable government then the magnitude and severity of the failure on both sides; governors and the governed; appear to be catastrophic. The minority bloc; just like all such groupings; are constantly taking positions to frustrate the efforts of the majority at exercising its mandate. When such tactics succeed then they are bound to help portray the opposition as more capable than the majority whose strategic moves are to be held responsible for permitting such obfuscations to make gains. When the majority fails to govern then it does so at its own peril and has no one to blame save its own incompetence to fulfill its obligations.

The biggest failure, however, is that of the electorate that has abdicated its role to hold the politicians accountable. Instead of showing its outrage whenever the elected officials fail to live up to their promises it maintains a stoical attitude that can be interpreted only as a tacit agreement that all power is to be given to the rulers who are in turn free to act any which way that they chose to perpetuate their personal power, the public good be damned.

Under such circumstances none of the parties is living up to its responsibilities and the best thing that can be said is that they all deserve each other. If this republic is to defy the odds and cling to life then the only path to salvation is for the public to take it to the streets and demand that their rights be respected. That should either cause the majority coalition to take decisive action by learning how to rule or should move out of the way. If all else fails then we would be left with only one choice, to pull the plug on a patient that refuses to take any steps towards wellness. When we act against the original mandate under which we were created then we have given up the right to exist. They do shoot horses don’t they?

No comments:


Free Blog Counter