Harmony, chaos, responsibility and accountability

Judicial activism versus political powers. Who is right, where is the invisible line separating the two solitudes?
In a democracy that line, the border, is often blurred or otherwise obscured from plain view. Obscured not by design even but by many conflicting political desires of societal own aspiration. Choosing a government we do choose a certain political colour, philosophical view that will paint a state for number of years. Depending on the skill of such government, it might leave a much more permanent mark on the state and society at large. But since we do differ in a democracy very much between ourselves, how to protect those of us, who did not choose present government? Are they to simply to “shut up and put up”? Is it a recipe for winners and losers or for harmonious flow of ideas?
That’s exactly where law, rules and courts come into play. And why of utmost importance is to keep the courts system separate from the temporal powers of the government. On every level of any organization.
For a victorious leader it is easy to forget that election is a political battle, not a military one. One is to conquer the electorate, not to annihilate or humiliate the opponent. And ‘conquer’ has to be read with thousand a grain of salt. Not every leader has the necessary personal tools and wits to grasp the reality. Hence often the euphoric attempts to circumvent the rules. I have won fair and square, therefore I can rule as I wish. No so fast, though. Rules can be frustrating, can slow as down on our path to betterment. But there is a reason for them. Perhaps the ‘betterment’ is not what is perceived as betterment by many? And when you lead a party, particularly if you are a strong leader, you are leading followers. When you lead a community, city or state – your role is to serve also your opponents. The verb “serve”, not “lead”, should have a very strong emphasis on it.
Looked to Egypt. Thousands of mostly young people risked their lives to bring about change. To depose the old marquezqian dictator. Smart and sneaky leadership of Muslim Brotherhood movement stayed in the shadows. And, being popular in the poorer, uneducated masses, consequently won the first ever free election in Egypt. Low and behold, the new president makes himself soon afterwards a new dictator. With unprecedented (even under the old regime) powers. More or less – above the law of the land and above any and all scrutiny. A similar (in a very broad and not suggesting too close of a relationships) situation happened in many Central and Eastern European states after the collapse of communism. All of a sudden a lot of people, who were at the forefront of anticommunist struggle, found themselves on the outside of the sphere of influence. Especially when religious (or freedom of religious interference) and nationalistic values were concern. Majority has to be always very mindful of the rights of minorities. At the end that’s the only and sole goal of good democracy. Not economical benefits. Not freedom to posses, but freedom to express. All of it (economical benefits) could be achieved under any political system: under absolute kings and queens, under religious leadership and oversight, even under communist dictatorships. Just keep your mouth shut, bow to the will of rulers and you might become a millionaire or even billionaire (China, Russia).
But even in a strong democracies a victorious leader has often appetite to do more than is not only morally, but also legally right. And that’s when the rules and laws and fully independent judiciary matters the most.
Look at what is happening in the very recent weeks and months: plethora of major cities leaders on a way out of their offices for breaking the rules and laws. Some for clearly criminal personal gains (Quebec’s scandal of mafia’s influence in awarding lucrative contracts), others for their ignorance like Toronto’s unbelievably stupid or arrogant mayor. It is a major blow to our democracy. If it was a single case, I would say to the contrary: it is a sign of strong and robust legal system. But when there is so many of them in a short time, it also points to changing values of entire electoral process. Somehow it become morally OK to vote for people, who obviously do not represent the best of us. It is OK to have crooks or somehow ‘fishy characters’ as our leaders as long as they represent our political or social values. If we agreed that it is OK to have greedy, self serving managers in private enterprises (the excuse being: after all, these people do not horde taxpayers money), than we gave tacit approval for similar actions in local and national governments. And I suggest that crook is a crook is a crook. In private or public arena. Just because a crook professes the same political or religious or social values as you it doesn’t mean that he will not steal from you.

About Bogumil P-G

publisher, essayist, poet lived (and born) in Poland, later England, Italy, presently in Canada
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