Democracy more than ‘vote out and vote in’
THE EDITOR, Sir:
When we discuss the issues surrounding democracy, governance and voting, the parameters of the discussion always include our forefathers fighting to give us adult suffrage so that we would all have a voice in the running of the nation.
At first glance, there is nothing to disagree, with, but to allow the struggles of our ancestors to be limited and set as static would be an injustice to their fight and continued cause that many people's across the world continue to uphold and strive for, as democracy isn't as widespread or as straightforward as we in Jamaica must now come to realise.
If we are to be truthful about how seriously we have taken governance in this country, and hold these political representatives feet to the flame, we would be downright cross with ourselves. We have been led, paid and tricked to believe that we would have fulfilled our democratic obligations by marking an 'X' (preferably beside a head or bell) and dipping our fingers - only if it were that easy.
Your obligations don't begin and end with a vote but include other critical building blocks of democracy and governance, for example: identifying the issues, discussing the issues, keeping up with local and central government policies, sharing your cause and ideals through a medium (including social networks), and supporting peaceful protests.
The 'articulate minority' must not see themselves as a fixed group of tweeting Jamaicans but, in fact, as messengers of change who must reach out and grow.
We must not be comfortable any longer with a governance system that represses the voice of the people and rejects other forms of democratic action (e.g., recalls). There must be change by way of constitutional reform that will reaffirm that democracy is by the people.