War is never a good thing; its impact is always catastrophic no matter what the purpose is, and yet the warring parties still view war as a “solution”. To us, the main reason why the world still witnesses war is because we humans are still territorial beings. The territory itself is much more than just geographical; it stretches to politics, economy, technology, and religion. When any territory is felt threatened, people respond in many ways, and often irrationally. So we agree with John Steinbeck, one of the greats in American literature, who once said,”All war is a symptom of man’s failure as a thinking animal.”
Following the end of the Cold War in the 1990s, globalization seemed to be embraced as the way to world peace. Along with it, democracy and sense of freedom seemed to flourish everywhere. Today, democracy is still at center stage, but it is viewed and practiced as a mechanism that divides rather than unites people. Democracy respects and upholds diversity within the frame of unity. So if the frame transforms into disunity, is democracy still relevant to our lives?
Democracy is a system attempting to accommodate and uphold fairness, equal opportunity, human rights (and responsibility), and justice within a community, society and nation. In Western modern democracy, at a state or governing level, democracy is a check and balance system implemented by Judicial (the Court), Legislative (the Congress/Parliament), and Executive (Government) bodies, while Election is the mechanism used to determine who the leaders will be. Have we been successful? Well, it depends on how we perceive democracy.
In the US, for example, the four essential elements (Court, Congress, Government, and Election) mentioned above are exercised according the rules. Does it make everyone happy? Obviously not. The number of people participate in Election keeps decreasing, not because of the system, but because of the output of the system, and political attitude of most politicians.
Democracy is not a perfect system, so we shouldn’t expect a perfect outcome. If the (economic) welfare of the people is the utmost importance, then democracy is not the only system that has the chance to deliver it. Qatar, for instance, is more democratic than Saudi Arabia, but it doesn’t run the Western modern democracy either. The good thing is that its annual income per capita reaches over U$ 80,000; not only the highest in the world, but also way above any affluent Western countries. China is definitely not a democratic country, but its economic growth has been the highest in the past twenty years.
So, how do we measure the practiced democracy as true, partial, false or even never exists? We have three options. First is whether the check and balance, and election are exercised in accordance to the rules, regardless of not only the corrupt attitude of the politicians but also the consequential result(s) of the system, good or bad. Second is the level of welfare of the people regardless whether the system is democratic or not. Third is all of the above, meaning that the system is democratic, and the people’s welfare is high.
Our perspective may not be amenable by some or most people, but we would like to urge people to use the right measuring tool(s) when evaluating the success and/or failure of something. On this closure, we would like to thank your participation by giving your questions, views, and opinions; it’s been nothing but enrichment to us all. Although we are already moving on to another subject, you are still welcome to continue giving comment on this matter.