The people's responsibility in saving democracy
Daily Mirror Editorial
Nov 18, 2011

Among worldly powers there is no supreme authority and therefore we need to realise that governing authorities or governments are holding a sacred mandate to give servant leadership to the people and ensure peace and justice, freedom, equality and an equitable distribution of resources for them.

In occupying seats of authority however, there is, because of the selfishness and greed in human nature the temptation for leaders to cling onto or propagate false values. In such situations, governing authorities become insensitive to their original mandate.

The people need to assist the government, to ensure it does not become derailed, but kept on track in its duty and responsibility to work for the well-being of the people and prevent the plunder of public resources by political leaders. The government and the people must work together to see that the fundamental rights of the people are not infringed upon. The governing authorities must ensure that the sovereignty of the people is preserved and promoted.

What do we do when authorities in pursuing self-interest, trample others? We see controversial issues gripping the country these days. For instance the government fast tracked the takeover of 37 private enterprises, through controversial laws, while it struggles to restructure 23 State ventures, which are losing hundreds of millions of rupees in public funds. The massive debts our children would be saddled with, due to the foolish and grandiose spending resorted to, should be another matter enough to send cold shivers up our spines. Truly, we need to raise our voice of warning and correction. What’s to stop government acquiring even profit making private companies in the future for the sake of patching up a possible ailing economy? We need to however guard our own hearts and not do so out of our own self-interest. We do not resort to overthrowing authority so that our own occupy that seat.

Martin Luther King, the Afro-american civil rights leader, in his endeavour to have the Afro-americans enjoy equal status with the whites in America, insisted they were not to hate the whites. Even in the face of violence they were to love; turn the other cheek to change things unjust in their society.

Mahatma Gandhi toppled an empire in India, through civil disobedience. He did so by chiding and correcting the Hindus and Muslims for their wrong attitudes held against each other.

Could we too, decide to stand up and make a difference? One way could be by giving less prominence or recognition to such leaders, who are guilty of mismanagement or make a mockery of governance. As business people, or members of other secular and religious bodies, we could avoid inviting to the opening or gracing of functions and occasions, such political leaders who are alleged to be working for personal gain or glory and accumulating wealth at the people’s expense. Of course, many would find it difficult to do so, for the intent is to get favours out of these political leaders.

The time has come for us to choose, to either make a difference as to which way we charter our nation or go like a roller coaster to our destruction. The choice we make determines what we are going to bequeath to our children. Are we going to remain silent and support deception or dictatorial trends or are we going to take a risk and speak out and act against injustice or hypocrisy.

Source: Daily Mirror - Sri Lanka