Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Political dynasty and democracy

I read in the Negros Chronicle recently that political dynasty is anathema to a democracy.
I disagree with this proposition.
One Rachel Martinez also wrote to the effect that by tolerating political dynasties, the country is slipping back the medieval period were family dynasties ruled kingdoms.
I also disagree with this position.
That relatives are running for various elective positions is not anti-democratic.
I am a person who has faith in the body politic.
I am a person who does not think that I make judgments better than the sovereign.
What is anti democratic is when a system begins to prevent citizens from participating in the electoral processes.
What is anti-democratic is when the electorate is deprived the broadest freedom to choose who they feel should occupy positions in government.
Free choice is the essence of a democratic environment.
By having close relatives running for various elective positions, this shouldn't be equated with the dynasties of the past.
The distinction is that in today's set-up, the citizenry, the people themselves have the last say on whether to allow a relative of an incumbent to occupy public positions.
The dynasties of the past did not allow electoral invetervention.
Just look at the United States, with its over two hundred years of democratic exprerience, relatives ran and occupied various public positions.
John Adams was the 2nd President of the U.S. His son, John Quincy Adams later also became the sixth President.
Jack Kennedy became President, while brother Ted Kennedy became senator. Later Bobby joined brother Ted in the U.S. Senate.
Todays younger Kennedy's occupy other elective posts in the U.S., the most prominent of whom is a Kennedy by affinity, Arnold Scwharzenegger (spelling correct?) who is governor of California. Arnold is husband of Maria Kennedy Schriver (spelling correct?).
In the present, George W. is President while brother Jeb is Governor of Florida.
Father George Herbert Walker is ex-President.
Looking into the future, there might just be the first ever conjugal dynasty if Hillary Clinton makes it to the White House.
Her husband Bill was President of the U.S.
In all these political scenarios, was there ever a single issue raised on political dynasty in the U.S.?
Do you know why?
Because Americans put greater faith in the wisdom of the their electorate that they would choose properly the right people to lead them.
Americans don't give a damn if relatives run for public office, as long as the people retain their supreme sovereign authority to approve or reject these relatives running for public office.
That is the true essence of democracy.

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