Freitag, 6. November 2015

Democracy and Responsibility


   Daniel Dragomirescu

The masses of solidary citizens that were participating in a commemorative march for the victims in the Colectiv Club came back last night on the streets of the capital in triple numbers. They marched in front of the most important political institutions, starting with the Parliament and ending with the Victoria Square Palace. They were not silent anymore, they tried to sketch a project for a better country, asking for and obtaining the downfall of some important leaders that were responsible for what does not work in Romania, starting with the Prime Minister, Victor Ponta, who was the hope of the young wing of the former USL.

One question that was asked was: if ‘they’ fall, do we have a better option? The slogan that came back and was shouted by the 30.000 demonstrants in Bucharest – “All parties – the same misery” – says it all: unfortunately, at the moment people have completely lost faith in the existing parties, both those in office and the ones in the opposition, a more or less ornamental one – a fact officially recognized by Ponta himself, who, not long ago, had the bad idea to pride himself on the fact that at present, in Romania, “there is no opposition”. This severe crisis of faith of the Romanians has been obvious for a while, yet no political party made a real attempt to heed the signals and improve its performance on the political scene.

The second question is a logical one, but which, in the tragic context of the events in the Colectiv Club sounds malicious, disrespectful and even provocative. I reproduce it here, quoting the comment of a reader on the site of a national magazine (“Revista 22”): “It’s ok to protest, but it’s better to pay attention to who you vote for! In a democracy you cannot blame anyone but yourself. Who elected Piedone  mayor? Who elected Oprescu? Who elected Ponta and Oprea through the uninominal voting system?” End of quote.

However, things are not as simple as they appear in this subtly partisan way of thinking. Democracy does not mean taking responsibility off parties and politicians and blaming simple citizens for their bad government. Similarly, during the June 1999 Mineriad, the responsibility for the brutalities did not fall on the real miners, but on those who manipulated them. The first to be held responsable in a democracy which is not an oligarchy are the parties, the members of the parliament and the Govern. If you want to rule a country, you have to take responibility for your deeds. You should not make too great demands on the trust and the understanding of the citizens whose legitimate expectations you belie, so that afterwards you can shift the guilt for what you did wrong or just not well enough on them. Only demagogues and their interested or naive allies can say: citizen, you are to blame because you voted for this opportunist or: citizen, you are to blame because you did not care to vote for an opportunist.

It is true that there is no democracy, in the modern sense of the word, without political pluralism. But is also equally true that democracy means the unconditional responsibility of those to whom people delegate power temporarily through their votes.

English Version: CLH Team

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