On a Modified Version of Democracy

From May 2008

Those of my regular readers in Karnataka will know about the elections held recently.

This being my first opportunity to exercise my vote, I thought about it a great deal. My dad told me about the usual politics, the leaders and how corrupt each one is. By the end of it, I wondered whether I should vote at all- ‘all the options are so rotten anyway.’

By the next day, pamphlets started coming in about each candidate and party. All of them seemed polite, promising all sorts of things. But it’s an old joke isn’t it- ‘a politician’s promise’.

I was told that if I don’t vote, others would use my vote to add to their own favourite parties-proxy. I also heard about the option of saying I don’t like any of the candidates but here’s my vote. This was a good option. But I decided by then that I would vote. For an independent candidate.

So I voted for him. They told me I wasted my vote both on the day of the elections and the day of the results. I wonder- do they consider it similar to betting on which horse will win, or see it as an expression of what they want in the country? So my candidate didn’t win. At least I know I supported what I believed in. ‘Give a chance to someone new.’ Power corrupts but by the time it effects this candidate, someone newer will rise.

Agreed. Of all the possible ways of governance that exist today, democracy is probably the best, but it can be improved upon. Consider this:

Most of those who vote are swayed emotionally or by ‘gifts’ that appear at the time of elections. Why leave the fate of the country in such hands? Yet, it is they who will be ruled so they must be the ones deciding.

So a good way of doing it would be to not have parties. Only individuals who compete to run the country. Each person will have to have an efficient way of interacting with the people he or she represents. A transparent system of reports on what they have done and feedback from the people. Dialogue. They will be elected based on a trial period where they are judged for efficiency. Rather than misuse of power, this system will ensure competence in administration.

And with the lack of parties, people will be equal and unattached to sects of society. The recent Al Gores idea of interactive television for democracy would help this idea boost off.

(Disclaimer: I’m no political science student and this is just a rough idea. Someone who knows more should be able to flesh it out.)

Why vote for words and empty promises? Why not for actions and results at the grass root levels? Because ‘Everybody Loves a Good Drought’? I don’t. And neither do those who die in them.

See also