I have been bugging what’s this nine-letter-word means. Maybe for me the clearest and cleanest justification for democracy is what Abraham Lincoln stated when he served as the 16th President of the US, “Democracy is the government of the people for the people and by the people.”.That was also the same quote that my late father shared to me when I ask him what democracy is when I was a 4th grader. In the contemporary scene, democracy is now overrated and overreacted. Filipinos especially the anti-government politicians who used to be just a sponge absorbing fame and money complains about the invisible democracy leading today. The government today had just been a blaming pit for the national disgrace, decreasing literacy, and huge unemployment rate.
Philippines have been filled with demented, coward, and biased citizens. It is grueling to wait for a change. I remember the slogan “Ako Mismo…”. Many of my fellows took this as a fashion statement. The real meaning of this was being compromised. But for some who really got this seriously, it is just an overnight promise, the next morning we are still waking up on the same side of the bed. Some still don’t have the concern for their home country. It is just always a beginning for the change. I think change is inevitable and is constantly coming. But the real thing is, we are always on the same changing process but nothing has changed. If there are, I do not know.
I can’t write in words what democracy shall be. But I know what it is not.
Democracy is not a magic wand to heal the sick; not even a magic eraser that could eliminate poverty. Democracy is not a teacher to lessen the decreasing literacy. Democracy is not a clothing company that can dress the needy; nor a food chain that can feed famished street children. Democracy is not a balance to scale down the extrajudicial persecution; nor a judge that could sentence an overstaying president. Democracy is not a company that could offer a wide array of jobs. High paying jobs for the greedy rather. Democracy is not a hot patch that could cool down the aching muscles; nor a cataract operation for a blind. Democracy is not equality. For equality is nonexistent in this planet. There is no absolute freedom. Thus as absolute equality is absurd.
Democracy is not peace; for there is democracy in war. Democracy is not silence; for democracy is louder than silence. Democracy is not ranting in the streets; it is when you can speak silently but have the right to be heard. Democracy is not propaganda; for democracy can speak more than that. Democracy is not having the resistance to be trialed; but to defend yourself and trying to reason out for the truth. Democracy is not having choices; for democracy sometimes is not in the options. Democracy is not having the right of suffrage; but having it even there’s a gun pointing at your forehead. Democracy is the right to choose who you wants to lead the rest without minding what will be the consequences for it.
Yah, I am not talking about freedom but I am still talking about democracy. Freedom and democracy are similar but not mutually exclusive. They are inseparable. If you have the freedom alone, democracy is not in you. If democracy alone was what you’ve got, you can’t say that you got it until there is freedom. Democracy is not in the books, movies, songs, codes, laws, preamble, novel, blogs, and essays or in any dictionary. Democracy is in the hearts of those who live because of it and die for it. Democracy is for those who hope and act to justify that hoping.
Democracy is not just a form of government. It is a government. Democracy lies between us not inside of us. Democracy if free but if you have it, you are liable to assert for it. Democracy might be a dangerous word for it has been the reason for the persecution of those who seize for it. Democracy is, is, is, tiring but worth working. It is not just a word for debating its real essence. It is a gift for everyone that is worth fighting.
Democracy is…in the Philippines. I know.
With hopeful spirit:
Carlo H Andrion