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Modern Democracy - Success or Failure?

Image by GDJ from Pixabay
This week's topic is now last week's topic, as we're entering a new week as I write. The topic was chosen by Raju, another blogger in our group. His posts appear on his wife Padmini's blog. It's a very lofty topic indeed and way out of my league. I know very little about political science. My daughters studied it in school, though. However, challenge accepted. I will write on this topic and see how it goes. For all those who are far more knowledgeable about politics than I am, my apologies. I write as an ordinary woman in the street, so to speak. A complete laywoman in the area of politics.

People who are not in politics generally agree that it's a dirty business and they wouldn't be caught dead

Image by Pexels from Pixabay 
anywhere near it. People who are connected to it, whether by family or work ties, generally can't get enough of it. A sister of mine once worked with the daughter of a moderately well-known Irish politician (we'll call the girl Laura - not her real name). Sister dearest went for drinks in a pub one night with her friend Laura and there were quite a few party workers present. Sis listened aghast as Laura was asked if she'd ever considered running for her father's seat should he ever drop dead or something. The general consensus was that she probably should. After all, the group reasoned, wouldn't it be a shame for that seat to go out of the family? Sis swallowed her indignance. A public representative works on behalf of his or her constituency as a sacred trust. And here were these people treating a seat in the Irish Dáil (parliament, pronounced: 'doyl' for your kind information, should you, my reader, not be Irish) as if it was some kind of family property. Incredible! As the evening drew to a close, Sis told her friend she must depart. Our mother was at a work-related party in a hotel nearby. It was Christmas, so a lot of parties were going on. Laura, being considerate, was concerned about my sister getting home safely. She said 'let me know if you find your mother.' Mother was duly found and Sis brought her in to say a final goodnight and goodbye to  Laura. So Sis and Mother said their goodbyes and suddenly Laura got all excited. "Hey, Dad's here," she said. "You must meet my dad."

Image by Wokandapix from Pixabay
So Laura goes over and tells Dad that her friend's mother was present and he really must say hello. Within seconds, my mother's hand was firmly grasped, eye contact was duly made and Mr Mac the politician (wild horses wouldn't drag the name out of me - names changed to protect the guilty, you never know who's reading) was assuring my bewildered mother that it was a true pleasure to meet her and that he hoped it would not be too long before their paths crossed again. I may mention here that the gentleman had a few drinks taken, enough said. But fair play to him, as we say in Ireland, he could hold his drink. I wouldn't have put him behind the wheel of a car that night, though.  But, sure, he probably had a driver. So, no harm was done. I've had my share of meeting politicians and having my hand firmly grasped and eye contact made. I think they must all go to the same public relations agency. The female politicians I've met were a different breed altogether. Some quite friendly and some very distant and aloof. But they were somehow more real than their male counterparts. That's what I think anyway. 

Image by Andrew Martin from Pixabay
So, yeah, democracy. Government for the people, of the people and of the people as the classical Greeks might have said  Democracy is quite a modern phenomenon. In the past, east and west, countries were ruled by Royal families who ruled by divine right through a bloodline. The western and eastern concept of kingship was that's it's a sacred charge. More important than crowning in Christian monarchy was anointing, which was part of the king-making rituals in the Bible. But the word democracy has been coined from the Greek language. The concept of democratic government has been contemplated by no less a people than the learned ancient Greeks. But when the French violently abolished their monarchy at the end of the 18th century, the western world changed and the modern era was ushered in. The concept of elected legislators was born. Apparently, the concept of left-wing and right-wing politics came from the French parliament. The conservative politicians apparently sat on the right side of the assembly and the reformers hung out on the left side. Extremes of right and left are dangerous because extremism is dangerous. Moderation is a better option.  The middle ground is always better.

Image by Gordon Johnson from Pixabay

Democratic principles sound great. As many an Irish politician says after each election, 'the people have spoken'. But have they really? Apparently, you can't run for the elections if you have no money. Irish politician Royston Brady came to grief in 2004, when he was persuaded to run for the European elections and then left to pay a huge bill for election costs when his campaign failed. He was a man with great ability, but you need more than ability in order to succeed in politics, it seems. Donald Trump was not a popular President. But at least the man was able to pay his way around. A poor person cannot dream of running for the elections in India. I think now in these days of social media, things have averaged out a bit. Once you have a smartphone, you have access to social media tools. But you need the skill set, or an employee or assistant with the skill set to run these tools, to make social media work for you. Otherwise, you might as well go home.

Politics does not work for me, even as a voter. I'm a person with Labour leanings. My late father was a member of the Irish Labour party. He was a committed union man. So, I'm always on the side of the workers. I believe that a mixed economy such as we have in Ireland, that encourages business and takes care of the weaker sections, is the way to go. That puts me firmly on the left. On the other hand, I'm a devout Catholic and pro-life to the hilt. I am opposed to abortion and euthanasia on the grounds that killing is wrong. By the way, by euthanasia, I mean assisted suicide of the incurably ill. I don't mean palliative care, which seeks to alleviate the pain of those who are in mortal pain by giving them medication which alleviates their suffering and as a side effect, may cause their lives to be a little shorter. I also don't believe that removing an unborn child before its time, to save the mother's life, is abortion. Anyway, the point is, that while I believe in live and let live, I am pro-life. And being pro-life puts me on the right-wing side. So as I said, politics doesn't work for me. 

As Jesus Christ said, in His Infinite Wisdom, give to God what belongs to God and to Caeser what belongs to Caeser. You can't go wrong with that advice. As a Christian, I believe it's important to pray for our leaders. So, is modern democracy a success or a failure? It depends, I suppose. On how you view it and on whether you have enough money to do what you want. Including run for the elections

Many thanks to Pixabay for the imagery.

Please Visit the Other Blog Friday Group Members

The other seven bloggers who write on the same topic every Friday are  RamanaSanjanaPadmum,  RajuShackmanSrinivas and Conrad


  1. I think true democracy has to always fundamentally be about the citizen. You are a citizen and your values are your values. Someone wants your vote and you try to discover if they represent enough of your values. So, if you can find your pro life candidate that you want to represent you in the halls of government, then power to you!

    1. Thanks Conrad. I'd say I'd be a long time waiting, though.

  2. For a topic that is way out of your league you have done more than justice to it! Only you could have brought in real life stories to illustrate ideas and also to teach poor non Irish how to pronounce Irish words. Way to go Sis.


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