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We should question our governments

15 December 2011, 16:10 An observer

Government in the minds of most people are trustworthy individuals belonging to various political parties who have been elected into a position of government by the people who have the right to vote and believed the leaders of those political parties that they would deliver on their elective promises.

Government is a collective who represent those who voted for them. This is true. When government does what the people want, then they are re-elected and the cycle of trust goes on. People trust their governments. If this were not so people would revolt and call for change. History is littered with revolutions of one sort or another.

However, if this process is interfered with, then the process originally established, i.e. one of trust, then the process is no longer one of trust but distrust, but more often confuion, before distrust actually takes place.

There are many reasons why this process of trust breaks down.

It starts with those who are elected. When elected officials are seen not to be doing their duty, then their followers become disillusioned, or do they? The first point is that most voters fail to recognise that their "elected" official (yes you and I voted them into power) has not done their duty. "Are they visibly doing their duty?" one has to ask.

Elected officials are supposed to be responsive to their voters, i.e. reponsible. Sadly, most people I know have no idea who their councillor is, let alone, have any contact with them. Most have no idea, or interest, in knowing how government is supposed to work, even at a community level.

So we elect demigogues instead of ordinary people. When elected officials begin to act like demigogues and don't recognise that they have ceased to be ordinary, intelligent people, they begin to overdose on a malady called vested self-interest. Self-interest generally has to do with money, but it also extends to self-importance and sex.

A major reaon why the process of trust breaks down is that ordinary people who vote for the officials who are supposed to represent them, is that people (you and I) don't hold those officials accountable. That is the "rub".

So why should we question our governments?

In some sense, it's a question of mathematics. A large number  of people elect a very small number of people to represent them. When that large number of people don't hold the small number of people accountable for their actions then mass manipulation begins to occur. Mass manipulation, combined with self-interest is why undemocratic laws are passed. Those undemocratic laws are designed to further the self-interest of the demigogues and not the ordinary people who voted tham into positions of power. I have always considerd it a curious thing that the masses are so easily manipulated, or can they?

I have a lot of confidence in the diversity of people on this small part of the planet we call South Africa. However, can those diverse communities withstand the mass manipulation of government. That remains to be seen.

One small voice can shout louder than the masses, if it shouts longer. Your voice and vote counts. It's a question of mathematics versus apathy.

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