Democracy’s Insides

It is the people who make up a democracy. Or to be more precise, the majority of the people. At least, in idealization, such is the concept of democracy.

I am not familiar with how a government works, or how social institutions function. I am likewise oblivious with the minute details of how the country functions precisely. I am blind to the gestalt, the culmination of the little things that’s happening around me. What is a democracy? I know only vague notions of it. Perhaps you can attribute it to my short attention span, my tendency to digress, or my half-hearted attentiveness to things – that some point out as a defining feature of my generation (and here I am, digressing).

But then I thought, I don’t have to read books thoroughly to know what a democracy is and what it represents – I merely have to immerse myself in one, literally walk the streets and see for myself what it is. And since I’m doing that almost everyday the task for me now is to simply pay attention.

I know the word majority plays a keen role in every democracy – numbers choose the person to whom power shall be granted to hold this country together (or rupture it). As such, I am not surprised at the things done to achieve these numbers. We hear of teachers being mugged, of votes being manufactured, of thumbprints appearing under more than two persons’ names - little things that bring meaning to the word “democracy:” not caring of individual identities, but merely the addition you represent. When a man is asked by three others in blue to step down from the jeepney and away from the passengers to have a “talk” about the “law” - that is democracy. Three against one. A numbers game.

But to be fair, that’s not all democracy is. Democracy is also the collective resolve of farmers who came from a mountain islands away, using nothing but their god-given feet and willpower – to demand what is theirs from the terminal Queen-of-the-Hill. Democracy is that which compelled a despot to flee to the lands of hoola beyond, with no further blood being spilled.

Democracy is when we clamor for what we want. Our own selfish desires comprise the selfish desire of the whole: the democratic, numerical greater good. And when individuals correlate, democracy shines, like the interwoven colors of an aurora borealis. But such a thing is rare from the point of view of a student immersed in his own affairs. Probably so rare now as to become practically impossible as an aurora borealis in the Philippines – a country composed of islands, languages, cultures and religions. A country composed of plurals.

Democracy is the assumption that most is as good as we can get to everyone. It only works if the majority knows what they want, and if they have the will to have it. It is a blunt double-edged blade that assumes that there’s good in most of us, while shunning the cruel alternative. And as it stands now, we’re chopping veggies with the blunt end, the sharp end masticating our fingers.

Prove me wrong. I dare you. Otherwise grab a different knife and get chopping! The children are hungry, and they’re growing sick of finger foods!