Monday, January 25, 2010

Democracy and popular participation

Pic unrelated.

I was doing a bit of research on the media's portrayal of the 2010 Olympics and its surrounding issues from 2001 to 2010, I noticed that very strangely, people who live in a democratic society seems to have no bloody clue about how the system work, or even things that are happening that may drastically affect their lives or the kind of things and issues that are directly against their beliefs and ideal, but due to the general ignorance, no one is doing anything about.

If political participation and the public promotion of which is so central to a democratic government that all of its various forms emphasized it to varying degrees, why is it that there is so little concern about politics in modern North America unless something major happens?

If we truly live and think democratically, then why in the world does sounds of dissent and protest emerge only AFTER a matter is decided, but get almost no promotion or coverage while it is still BEING decided? This is especially clear when you look at the amount of media coverage that the 2010 Olympic games got from 2001 to 2010.

During the time when the city is seriously considering bidding(2001), there was no voice of concern or protest from the media or the people. When the city finally decide to send in the bid, there was still nothing from the people or the media. When the bid is finalized and passed, there was still a ridiculously small voice of concern even after it has been approved. When the city started to start finalizing the budget for the Olympics developments, there was only a very faint voice of concern. At this point, I would like to remind you that there is no going back now for the city regarding the Olympics. While living in BC, I still remember that the first real wave of protest and unrest came only after the plans are already in full execution and the constructions are going full steam ahead, which was already sometime around 2005 or 2006.

So the fact that the Olympics are decided without much input from the people isn't exactly undemocratic, but more of a result of a population that while living in a democratic system, doesn't seem to know how the system work. This of course is also a sign of the system's failure to promote more active democratic citizens, which is another issue that I can't really figure out how to go about solving.

Finally, I would like to conclude by suggesting that in the 2010 Olympics' scenario, think of how much of a difference it would have made if all the hollering activists and torch grabbing protesters made their case when the city is still trying to decide whether or not to bid, or even after the city sent the finalized bid to the Olympic committee for consideration. I'm pretty sure that if the protests and rallies were held during those times, the city would have a much much slimmer(read: nearly no) chance of winning the Olympic bid when the committee compare it to other much more enthusiastic cities.

tldr: Our democracy is seriously flawed due to a system that doesn't encourage participation and the general ignorance of the population, which also could be argued to be a result of living under such a system. Are we really living democratically if we don't take initiative and the system doesn't encourage us to?

No comments:

Post a Comment