by L. SIDDHARTA ORIE
It has been said that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing; it has to be also true that a little power is a dangerous thing – as could be gleaned from the misguided, self-righteous muscle flexing of the Independent senators in the parliament. If there is need for constitutional reform it must be with regards to power being given as a gift on a silver platter to people who haven’t faced the electorate thereby receiving a mandate from the people to be obstructionist and dictatorial in the dispensation of their duties.
Senators selected and appointed by a constitutionally created Santa Claus is a contradiction of the democratic process which exists in reality only via the one man, one vote process, which is activated on the day of general elections. Most political scientists who dissect the validity of democratic process conclude that it is alive and functioning only on Election Day.
Technically, what this means is that the people have spoken and courtesy their vote they have decided who in the society should govern their country. It is thus a contradiction for a group of unelected persons to be placed in such a strategic position that they could, via their eccentricities, idiosyncrasies, egocentricities and general bias overrule and block legislation that the elected government wishes to pass in the interest of the country — especially with an overwhelming majority of the population agreeing to it in polls conducted on the matter.
But nine senators, well, six thus far, have assumed that they are the voice of this 1.3 million population whom they believe are incapable of rational and intelligent decision- making and so they, hot-shot intellectuals, who hold the franchise on wisdom, no, who, because they have dictatorially arrogated unto themselves the right to be the voice of the people must exponentially be the voice of god as well, must decide.
But while they assume a position of transcendental wisdom they claim that they can’t see why the bill must be passed, when the average Joe and Jane on the street could tell them if they got off their ivory towers and touch ground that crime so ravages this society that rather than give the drowning man a manual on how to swim, you throw him a rope, jump in and pull him out to safety.
All this alarmist talk of a creeping dictatorship in the making, of picking the pocket of the constitution to declare a state of emergency by the Government is nothing but empty pulpiteering thrown out into the wind like rhetorical confetti. It is meant to say we few, we band of brothers and sisters in the Senate are the guardians of our democracy; that you voted for them in the lower house, but we of the Upper House, we were not voted in by the rank and file lesser mortals that you all are, but we are the chosen ones, the hand-picked, touched by the hand of god…via his representative on earth, the President!
The irony of presuming to be the voice of God while playing the devil’s advocate is that you end up scrambling for logic in trying to defend your indefensible position. One moment you say you don’t understand why the Bill is necessary because some of you probably write Utopia in your passports for country of birth, and next you pull out of your hat Section 34, to try and prove that the Government is more dangerous than the criminals stalking the land.
All you are saying is what the private sector accuses the public sector of – i.e, you are spending valuable time on bureaucratic sesquipedalian verbiage just for the sake of posturing, just to try and prove to the constitutional reform people that you serve a valuable role in maintaining a healthy democracy, when for all and sundry (and the common man) you are really a bunch of procrastinating fiddlers, making a foolish attempt to prove that you earn your salary, don’t abolish us – even if Rome burns down while we make stand up theatre of the parliament.
A girl is dining with her father in a New York incident, when her father starts choking on a piece of meat; not knowing what to do but is determined to try and save him from choking to death, she scrambles up a knife at hand, rushes over to him, slits his throat, pulls out the piece of chicken, calls the ambulance which takes him to the hospital where he is stitched up and left to tell the story of his daughter’s bravery and quick-thinking action.
Senators, what would you have done in that emergency? Argued with yourself over the legality of slitting of your father’s throat seeing it not as a saving act, but as a stabbing crime?