We’ve heard it time and again, in the media and elsewhere –‘Exercise your right to vote.You are lazy educated person who does not vote.Bad people go to parliament because of the good people who do not come out and vote.So you’re responsible for the wrong deeds performed by these unworthy elected people.So don’t point fingers at them.Look at your despicable self in the mirror‘
Well said, but let us also care to look from the perspective of the democratic voter for a moment.
Some of the thinking democratic voter’s questions would be like this–
1. In elections should we look at the candidate or the party?
2. What if candidate is bad but party is good or the other way round?
3. We see that candidates MPs MLAs simply represent their parties,they don’t ask the people and represent their opinion in Parliament.So should we care to look at individual candidates at all?
4. Also how to rate the performance of the party in power?
5. Should we look at the state of the economy or Electricity,Roads,Water?
6. If there is heavy crime in my area is the central or state government responsible for that?
7. Should bad power supply be attributed to the state ruling party or the central government party or the local Municipal Corporation?Who is responsible for what?
8. And whom are we supposed to compare with.The roads in US,UK?Or the economy of China or Pakistan?Or the crime rate with some of the other countries?
9. The state government accuses the central leadership for all ills while the center blames the former.Whom should we believe? And finally;
10. Is there any simple thumb rule that can be followed by an illiterate villager with moderate information? How can we consolidate the answers to the above questions to generate a definite answer?Would that be easy?
I understand that some of these questions require all of us to have good knowledge of decentralized model(i.e Electricity and Water is handled by the state government while Roads come under Municipal Corporation.) How many of us educated people actually know this(or remember this 🙂 )Does an illiterate person know this?One simple thing which everyone understands is bad candidates with criminal record should not be elected. But this creates confusion if you like the party and its agenda.
The other thing is the immaturity inherent in many of us.Voters have generally been enamoured by movie stars with their impressive dialogues.Also voting for someone because he/she is from your community/religion or speaks our mother tongue, is fairly common.But will they be good leaders? In some countries alcoholic drinks,money and food is used to entice voters.Some of these ‘honest voters’ think that if the candidate has helped them by giving money, it would be sinful not to vote for them.
People can become satisfied with just moderate degree of accomplishment.If you compare with other nations(Electricity,Roads,Water,Law and order) you realize that it is not good enough.If you don’t compare you may not get an idea.The local mayor will contend that he did his best in the given circumstances.The ruling party may say they did their best.Progress is slow but gradually we will become a developed country and so on.But the reality maybe that they did not do their level best.It becomes difficult as an ordinary person to say what is just good development to best development under the given circumstances.Also too many elections (state,center,local) with each government having different responsibilities sort of confuses the voter as to what should be attributed to whom.
The demographic profile of countries maybe such that with a large illiterate/narrow minded/lazy population they cannot vote for the best.They need help from their noble,intelligent fellow citizens.
What if in a company performance appraisal of the Managing Director/CEO is made by the watchman or the cab driver.Will he have enough information and the aptitude to measure the performance of the Managing director?What if the company MD is to be selected by the watchman?Can he be a good selector?
The present democratic vote system requires the ordinary people without proper information and aptitude to be do a performance appraisal/selection of candidates.Worse there is no one to one meeting either.How good a job can they really do?
In short I think the form of government mentioned in the article ‘Something better than democracy’-(https://betterthandemocracy.wordpress.com/2012/08/14/something-better-than-democracy/) is the best.It preserves some good aspects of democracy but does not completely depend on the people for judgment.Screening of candidates based on universally accepted qualities of administrator,minimal elections,handpicking after consultation by experts,debates by sector specific experts will be better.