For most ordinary people, democracy has come to mean government of the people, by the people, for the people. Those iconic words by Abraham Lincoln, contained in the Gettysburg Address of 1863, remains a source of inspiration not only for Americans, but many other nations around the world, and has even been incorporated word for word into the French constitution.
Most modern governments however, pay scant respect to the vision those words are meant to portray. I watched a YouTube video yesterday, titled Sai Baba Exposed – Part 1-4 (also available here as a Google video in one complete segment), and was completely astounded at the self-important retort made by a former Indian Cabinet Minister to a British journalist, interviewing him about sordid allegations concerning Sai Baba, a cult leader who thinks he is some sort of god. The Minister’s openly intimidatory remark toward the journalist which sounded like “do you know my status,” made me wince, not because it came from a member of the world’s largest democracy, but because it sounded so familiar. I could have sworn I was hearing it from one of our very own Government Ministers, right here in South Africa, or our President himself. You see, it’s become common-place in South Africa, for elected public officials, Executive, Senior and Junior, down to the lowest clerk to show utter disdain and contempt for the ordinary people who are responsible for them holding those positions.
The culture of entitlement has permeated every sphere of public office. Even organizations such as the ANC Youth League (ANCYL), which are aligned with the ruling political party, and CEO’s of state-owned Utilities such as Eskom, the power supplier, have become accustomed to displaying a total lack of respect and contempt for the ordinary citizen, while openly enjoying the patronage and protection of the parent body, the ANC. And just as Sai Baba evidently enjoys both Police and Government protection in India, the ANC’s minions, who are regularly accused of fraud and corruption, do so here in South Africa as well.
But, this self-serving culture by public officials is not limited to India and South Africa. Until only recently, the great United States of America, that bastion of freedom and justice, the apparent model of democracy, had a President who could fit the mould of a common dictator quite easily. And just a few hours ago, I read an article Jamaican Bureaucrats Do Not Serve the People, by a retired cardiologist, Basil Waine Kong, returning from the USA to his home country, about his displeasure and disappointment at what he found there. It was chilling, because he might as well have been writing about South Africa.
Even though this is a world-wide phenomenon, I am concerned more with South Africa and our immediate problem. The great Nelson Mandela must surely be highly aggrieved at what has happened to his beloved ANC. This organization is a ghost of its former illustrious self. The ANC of today is a rotting carcase, populated by slimy maggots who pose as leaders of the people. For years they have fed off the largesse of the people who put them into power, but now that the rotting carcase that was once the great ANC no longer gives them the cover of virtue and honour, they are openly feeding on each other too. In-fighting is tearing apart the ass-end of this carcase from the head-end, but you would be hard-pressed to know which maggots are inhabiting what end at any one time.
What recourse does the ordinary person have to fight this scourge of governmental disparagement? I turned to the only true god of enlightenment, Google, for answers and asked the question What can people do if government does not serve the people? And guess what? I could not find any reasonable answers. In fact Answers.com has this to say: This question has not been answered yet. Does this mean we are doomed to suffer government tyranny for ever? Does someone have an answer, which does not involve revolution again?