“Politics is the collective decision-making or policy-making common to the whole society,” Joyce Mitchell states in his book regarding political analysis. This is a definition I can agree with. A role in politics is a part that every member of the society has to play, and the politics itself is a matter that affects all of us, even though the impact of the effects themselves may vary. From the changes in prices to new infrastructural developments and environmental policies, all of us; the involved and the bystander, are subjected to the shifting tides of governmental policy. We carry the responsibility of the role as a citizen in the undercurrents of politics. The nature of this role is up to us, however small, however big it maybe. Of this role we are unconscious of, of this role, we are most apathetic toward, but it is a part that must be fulfilled, particularly in times of unrest and despair.
No political system can be perfect for they themselves are created by humankind, who are constantly discovering and rediscovering themselves through the turning of centuries, whose identities and ideals are evolving constantly with the wheel of time. One of the main reasons why we fall into political dogma is chiefly because of this very fact: we are afraid to admit that we might be wrong, afraid to let go of the familiar and look at the cracks. We are afraid to admit to ourselves that we are only human, and can only ever be human. But the cracks, as Leonard Cohen so beautifully puts it, is how the light gets in. Instead of stigmatizing the limitations of our politics, of our choices, we can actively seek reformation. A common problem that a lot of us seem to run into in the Maldives is the idolatry of our leaders. We forget that they are human, we begin to look past the policies, the virtues and hold on to a personality that is ever so fleeting. The undervaluing of our own culture, of our own principles in the violent transfiguration into a developed society has left the nation in the turmoil of an identity crisis. We cling onto our leaders as drowning men clutch at straws, we naively hope to be led to the Promised Land by the hand of a human being as flawed as ourselves. The eventual realization of this then leaves us disillusioned and apathetic in our own role as citizens, in our own choice, in our own power. Holding unrealistic expectations of anyone leaves one in disappointment. It is vital to realize these shortcomings of character, of ideals and values if we were to improve upon them. It is upon us to be actively involved in the politics, to realize our own limitations, and to inform them on these limitations, and on our own as well. It is our part to act, to take leadership of our opinion and our power as the people of a nation. It is a right that belongs solely to oneself.
It is apparent then that the governance at hand must work with the citizen in order to create a society that doesn’t hinder the abilities and rights of an individual. A society can only thrive with the development of the individual, the cultivation and nurturing of individual abilities and talent. A most beneficial governance would be one that is receptive to our grievances, to our thoughts and ideas. One that has the strength to own up to their misgivings, constantly striving not only in the development within the realms of economics, but within the realms of humanity and culture. A question shouldn’t be regarded as a political attack, but rather as a beacon to betterment, a gateway to a conversation. Our leaders should allow themselves and us, flaws and faults, if we were to move forward, if we were to achieve a greater freedom in terms of who we are as an individual, as a nation, and who we want to be.
While chasing a Utopian society can be regarded as unrealistic, letting our ability be confined by one that is descending into Dystopia seems highly unreasonable. We must realize our power, and we must realize it now.