Re: “A debate on Thai democracy”, Have Your Say, July 24.
While the letter goes some way to defining democracy, it ultimately fails thanks to a glaring omission. There is no mention of the law.
The ballot box alone does not represent democracy. A dictatorship, even if elected, is not a democracy. To state that “elected” is the “operative word” is a fallacy. Thaksin Shinawatra was “elected” and so was President Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe, but there is no better definition of dictatorship than these two individuals.
The right to vote is a principle of democracy. To hive it off, claiming that it represents democracy, shows an intent to deceive the unaware and ignorant. While democracy is certainly of the people, for the people and by the people, paradoxically its greatest enemy is the people. That is why democracy is a form of government controlled by laws not people.
In a true representative democracy, whoever the chosen representative, he or she is subject to the established laws and the paramount law, the constitution. It is the responsibility of the people to ensure that accountability under the law also applies to their lawmaking representative.
In a democracy the controlling factor is the law to which every single person is accountable. Without a system of laws and law enforcement an elected leader has carte blanche to do as he or she pleases.
Democracy is essentially apolitical. While allowing choice and freedom of expression, it must not allow its judicial system to become politicised. This occurred blatantly under the last administration in the “democratic republic” of the United States with collusion between the FBI, the Department of Justice and even the president. Worse still, it has now been weaponised by the same people.
Democracy is the best system of government we have, but it can be fragile. It is only as strong as the knowledge and minds of its people.