Democracy is not a Cactus

There’s this misconception going around that you can insert democracy where’er there's need and — hey presto! — it’ll succeed, but isn’t that like trying to patch up a ruptured spleen with a band-aid?

Stand in the middle of a desert, drop a seed in the ground, stomp on it and exclaim «now, grow!» with thunderous enthusiasm. The soil is infertile, there’s no rain and it’s a damn hostile enviroment for anything but the most hardy of vegetation.

Democracy is not a staunch cactus (it does however have thorns). It is a delicate flower that refuses to bloom unless its environment is just right.

It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried.

You can’t package and sell democracy. It’s not a five minute microwave dinner. It took hundreds of years, tremendous bloodshed, toil, tears and trial & error. The modern western democracies that exist today didn’t get the democratic ideal shoved down their throats by a third party. It happened naturally. This is how it has to happen in the future as well. In almost all cases where democracy grew forth the people decided it was needed. If you don’t have the people with you, you can’t do shit.

Tuesday, 7. October, 2008 · , , &

To be Thought a Fool

A while back I wrote about «that mysterious, wild-eyed, quiet stranger» and how I wished I was such a someone.

Today I realized it might be a good thing that I’m not. What hell it must be to always stay in the corner, alone — fearing that if you were ever to partake in sociable conduct your cover would be blown. As soon as your mouth opened, you’d be exposed as the socially awkward, shy man you really are. Or as a complete buffoon, void of any of the clandestine elegance formerly exuded.

‘Tis better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt, as they say.

In many ways I am a mysterious, quiet stranger (not wild-eyed, I think). I never know if I should introduce myself when meeting friends of friends, and I always keep quiet and out of the way. The few times I do say something, it’s either commonplace or spoken so softly low that I might as well have kept it inside my head. It would probably have made more noise reverberating inside my skull anyway.

The usual reaction new people have when meeting me is «you’re so quiet» and/or «is something wrong?» Yes, I’m quiet. A lot of things are wrong, but I always look like this.

‘Tis better to remain silent and be thought a fool, et cetera.

Then again, maybe it’s better to be a proven fool who, at the very least, tries, than the suspect of a wordless crime deferred.

Monday, 12. February, 2007 · , , , &

This is the Note that will work

I had that one line. It came to me riding the bus on my way home from work. People were scurrying to the doors, long before the bus reached the designated stop. As if it was imperative to be ready. To throw out of the bus as soon as the doors opened. As if they would only be open for a split second, locking anyone hesitant or idle inside never to be released from that huge, rolling, red coffin.

«And this is the note that will work,» I thought.

It happens every day and I am constantly amazed. Not by the predictability of man, rather the illogical fear of suddenly being encased in molasses, powerless to unstick themselves from their seats in time to vacate the bus. The harebrained schemes of mice and men are always cause for concern.

And this is the note that will work.

Thursday, 25. January, 2007 · &