18/03/2013: By all means work furiously to topple the Barisan Nasional if you wish: but the Malaysian fight is to restore democracy, justice and fairness to all, and a life in which every Malaysian is accorded his full dignity. That is the true task before all Malaysians.
They must not allow agitators and activists to fool them into thinking that their task is to put Pakatan Rakyat in power.
The task to restore democracy and justice will remain, no matter who is in power.
Political party activists and agitators prefer you not to think about that. The agitator prefers you to keep thinking only about the parties. They have their own reasons, and their job (some are paid directly, some paid indirectly and many not paid) is to remove one set of politicians and replace them with another.
That is not our task, as citizens.
All Malaysians must recognise that politicians and political parties are merely vehicles by which the citizen can move towards the ultimate goal – that goal being democracy and justice (or perhaps for some Muslims, an Islamic state and Islamic justice).
The BN does not represent democracy and justice. Neither does the Pakatan represent democracy and justice.
The DAP is not democracy in action. PKR is not justice in action. PAS is sometimes Islamic in action – but democracy and justice cuts across race and religion.
Those words “democratic” and “justice” in the names of those parties are merely marketing slogans. Political parties exist to secure power. They will “sell” whatever you will buy.
Parties are not a popular movement for democracy or justice. They are about achieving power. Whether they will deliver democracy or justice is another thing altogether.
To achieve political power, politicians use the words “democracy” and “justice” to get to the top. After they get to the top, if they are honest they will deliver their version of “democracy”, their version of “justice”.
Their version of democracy and justice may not be anything like what the people want or need – because parties, like companies, must deal with the demands of their members (and not you, the public) and the demands of their business, corporate and government sponsors (and not you, the public).
The parties and their hordes of political agitators will serve their members, their friends, and their sponsors first – long before they serve you, the people.
People in power are not angels
So what must the people do?
None of this is new. Humankind has had to deal with this many, many times before.
Western political philosophers have said:
Eternal vigilance is the price of all liberty – Wendell Phillips (1811-1884), US abolitionist and columnist.
That means stay on our guard at all times no matter who is in power and hold them to account all the time
There is no safety for honest men except by believing all possible evil of evil men – Edmund Burke (1729-1797), author, statesman, political philosopher.
That means never completely trust those buggers in office, those buggers who hold power, and always be suspicious of them and their motives.
If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary – James Madison (1751-1836), US political theorist, fourth US president.
That means that people in power are not angels – and the people must always keep politicians under their control, and not be controlled by politicians.
Changing a government does not restore democracy and justice
No matter who comes into power, the people must always remain on their toes, and never give their full trust to those in power.
That’s easier said than done, because agitators, propagandists, activists, businessmen, advertising men, salesmen and anybody who stands to profit or gain from those in power will tell you another story.
The people must always try to see through their bullshit. The people matter. Politicians and parties do not matter.
Gobind Rudra is a former newspaper editor