Citizens can make policy

POLITICS is not for the faint-hearted and neither is it for those seeking to enjoy even the simple pleasures of life. Politics, like drugs, is highly noxious and allows a temporary high before it swallows the entire being into a bottomless pit.

Why would anyone get into politics then? The benefits are numerous tipping the scale against the cons.

At the home front, this is the time we get to stand back and watch the frenzy leading up to the general election. Hate speeches, promises, innuendos are all part of the game.

Soon, there won't be a single tree or lamppost spared as the supporters of various parties have started the war of banners and posters. I suppose after the nomination, the campaign will intensify with nothing and no one spared.

We are just weeks away from the election, and I am already weary of the tumult. The news is full of conversations that don't work, gatherings, fact-checking and of course not forgetting the tickling WhatsApp messages that drown you in hilarity. For many of us, "let it soon be over" attitude has sunk in.

All over the world, most people mistrust most politicians. Political scandals, conspiracies and corrupt acts occur daily in every country and in every political party, hence most politicians are mistrusted even by their supporters. Many believe that politics necessarily breeds corruption.

No wonder many people have misgivings not only about politicians but politics itself.

We must know that we have a fraction of people who habitually refuse to vote. They no longer believe elections can make a significant change.

And there are those who think it not their responsibility to bring about the changes they often speak about.

I would think, non-voting for representatives is a vote of "no confidence" on rule by representatives.

Often people disgusted by most politicians' duplicity seek trustworthy politicians. If they find some, those too eventually disappoint them.

No wonder some believe a dictator should replace Parliament.

Others, rejecting dictators but seeing no alternative, give up and leave politics to politicians. This makes matters worse as politicians become concerned more with their power rather than with the interests of society.

Can a nation then operate without politics and politicians?

How do we run a society by all citizens – not representatives – voting directly on policies rather than on politicians?

Incidentally, I read an interesting document that prescribes how this can be achieved, "Direct Democracy Pamphlet", by Aki Orr presents an ambitiously thought-of alternative to my lament and I try to capture below salient points in the hope that it will give us something to think about.

When all citizens decide all policies, politicians will be redundant as their job is to decide for others.

Politicians represent others. Authority to decide for others is "power", and it is this power – not politics – that breeds corruption, according to Orr.  It does make sense, doesn't it?

Abolishing authority to represent others will abolish corruption. When no one has the right to decide for others, politics will be purged of hypocrisy, duplicity, and conspiracies. 

When all citizens decide all policies themselves, we have a new political system called Direct Democracy. 
In such a system no one decides for others, no one is paid for deciding policy, so costs of running society are greatly reduced, yet citizens' concern for their society rises.

Having said that, no political system can cure all political problems. Belief in such a cure is a dangerous delusion. There is no such cure. Abolishing power will solve many political problems but not all of them.

When every citizen can propose, debate and vote on every policy no one has the authority to decide for others, so politicians' power is abolished. Political power works like a drug, the addiction can be irremediable.

Well, who would have thought we will have driverless cars landing at our doorstep at our service?

I believe traditional politics will change too, for the better I hope.

Comments: letters@thesundaily.com