Quô Vâdis Democracy?

August 10, 2018

I was in Mexico during their presidential debates. The elections were held on the first of July 2018.The debates were disturbing for me to watch. The American presidential elections were disturbing as well and for the same reasons.In Mexico, the debates were hardly about substance, about what might be the right strategy for the country.Yes, some strategy was mentioned, but only if you call a flood of promises made by a candidate a “strategy.”To me, those kinds of promises look more like concealed “bribes” designed to get votes.Most of the debate (which somehow lacked any actual debating) consisted of the candidates attacking the character of other candidates calling them “thieves,” “corrupt,” and “cynical.”How about the media?The media was not analyzing the content of the candidates’ promises. Nor were they concerned with how valid or achievable those promises were. Instead, the media like score-keepers counted how many attacks the candidates launched on each other and assessed how well each of them responded to the barrage of slurs and personal accusations.Is this democracy?Imagine parents who fight in front of their children and call each other derogatory names. What will happen to their children? Whom will the children trust?No matter who becomes the president of Mexico, the will assume the role with all the baggage their opponents loaded onto them during the elections. It is not strange that people increasingly distrust politicians. How could they trust any candidate after watching them smeared with both true and false accusations for months preceding the election?It is not strange that ever-increasing portions of the voting population refuse to vote at all. When I have asked why this is so, I get the same response in Mexico, USA and in Israel: they do not like any of the candidates.If the people participating in a system do not trust their leadership, the system, I suggest, is not working well. Ideally, the system should produce the best leader there can be. The system should reflect and reinforce the trust the population has in its leadership. And we do not see that happening; not in the United States, not in Mexico and not in several countries the world over.Democracy is light years better than dictatorship, even as sick as it has become, but democracy needs to be re-engineered and cleaned up if it is to be sustainable and truly represent the interests of the people.Just thinkingIchak Kalderon Adizes

Written by
Dr. Ichak Adizes