The TINA syndrome of Democracy

The election is over. The Government and the opposition are already installed. Maybe this is the right time to think about the process as well as the system that has given us our Government as well as opposition. The process is democratic and constitutional. But have we really exploited it to its fullness? Maybe we can still milk it more to become even more democratic. To do this we have to get out of our Platonic caves and do the act of the mad man of Nietzsche. Plato tells us the parable of a cave where everyone are chained to the walls and are enjoying only shadow images. Maybe we have reduced the frame of the process of election to a fight of a few parties and independent. The frame is certainly not blank like the tabula rasa of John Locke. There is a script on it. But for a moment we have to put it into a semiotic black hole. This means we have to suspend our belief that the script on the frame is adequate and it is only with great difficulty that we can introduce any new alphabets or scripts onto it. This restrictive thinking keeps us the prisoners of Platonic cave. It is important that we break out from the shackles of our caves and do the thinking of the wise man who returns to Plato’s cave only to be killed by those in the cave who deem him to be mad and dangerous for their existence. Maybe it is time that we have to celebrate the mad man of Nietzsche. We have the challenge to see how what we think is the closed field for the electoral process is a open ground. Maybe we have to set the mad man who comes out in the dead of the night with the lantern and declares that ‘God is dead’ free in our mind.

Maybe a stretching of our thinking or bending of our mind that we all need to do as citizens will challenge us to live in the comfort of Platonic caves and embrace the courage of the mad man who comes with a lit lantern and make our declaration that the crippling electoral system and process are dead and we have to bring new breathe and life into it without unmaking our democracy as well as our constitution. This means we do have the challenge to think outside the box that is controlling our minds and convincing us to a limiting thought that the playfield of the electoral process is the best that we have established and seen in operation to this point. Here is the catch. We think that there are a few parties and a few individuals as independents who have to fight the election and give us a democratically elected government. Now we are stuck to these few parties who stir our feelings for our nation, religion and fellow citizens and elections are conducted and we think that we have finished with the electoral process and established a democratically elected Government. It is true that we have put up our democracy back into operation but is that all about democracy? Is there no more democracy to come?

Maybe we have to open the closed field of the electoral process. This requires us to deconstruct some of our beliefs that hold us captive and render us to submit uncritically to what we may call the TINA syndrome of democracy. TINA is the sense of closure of our mind that says that there is no alternative. We are destined for the reigning condition and there is no choice. The electoral process that is limited to a few parties and persons who stand as independent candidates have to be revisited. To do this we may have to blow the myth that thinks that elections cannot be fought without money bags. To break this barrier, we will have to show the courage of the Nietzsche’s mad man . To manifest this courage let’s do a thought experiment. Let us take up a constituency and imagine the electoral field of play within it. Is it limited to three or five parties and some 11 or 12 persons who have money and hence will fight the election as independent candidates. Can we open the playfield to bring in more players? What will happen if we have 50 to 200 hundred candidates. Maybe we have to challenge to lose and not just win. Supposed we have 200 independent candidates, what it will do to the election booths, electioneering personel and the EVMS. Maybe the willingness of 200 hundred persons who are feeling to lose their deposits can reveal the shortcomings of the EVMs too. Hence we do have the challenge to become mad candidates who are willing to lose and save our democracy. There is more democracy to come. Are you willing to be the proverbial mad man? Only mad Men/ Women can recuse the state of democracy. It can show us the fault lines of the EVMs as well as need of money bags to fight elections.we may have go back to the ballot paper . That too will have to be a booklet. The EVMs as they are now may not sustain the secrecy of the vote. This is because several of the election agents will be decode whom one will vote based on the location in front of the EVMs unless the EVMs are placed in a tall wall . As it is using scented fingers with intelligent pacing and than secretly smelling the fingers of known voters to determine if the person has voted for their candidate. If the person has voted thier candidate he/she will pick up the scent from the EVM button. Thus, there are ways of out smarting the smart voting machine to destroy the secrecy of the vote. Hence, EVM as it is now is vulnerable and cannot protect the secrecy from some Mavericks. Therefore only the mad can manifest fault lines in our mad election system.

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Hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue.

- Fr Victor Ferrao