"Would it not be easier
In that case for the government
To dissolve the people
And elect another?"
John Pilger, The Guardian, January 3 2014:
"...Jawaharlal Nehru's democracy succeeded in granting the vote (today, there are 3.2 million elected representatives), but it failed to build a semblance of social and economic justice. Widespread violence against women is only now precariously on the political agenda. Secularism may have been Nehru's grand vision, but Muslims in India remain among the poorest, most discriminated against and brutalised minority on Earth..."
David Runciman, The Guardian, November 8 2013:
"...It has always been like this. The history of democracy throughout the 20th century is a story of repeated crises during which politicians and publics have been torn between the twin impulses to overreact and to underreact to the dangers, without ever finding the balance between them. Dictator envy is never far from the surface...Indian democracy is chaotic and cries out for decisiveness. Chinese autocracy is efficient but cries out for greater adaptability. In the long run, the more adaptable system is likely to prevail. But only if its short-term weaknesses don't get in the way. Meanwhile, western democracy faces its own version of the confidence trap..."
Pankaj Mishra, November 2013:
"...Many observers of India are generally impressed by the procedures of Indian democracy, with its routine elections. India, Bhagwati and Panagariya assert, “has all elements of a liberal democracy with the poor and the underprivileged having access to effective politics at the ballot box.” But as Sen and Drèze point out, “the success of a democracy depends ultimately on the vigor of its practice.” Certainly, creeping authoritarianism of the kind witnessed in India can make political reform from below seem more urgent than economic engineering from the top. “Educate, agitate, and organize,” the disenchanted low-caste author of India’s constitution B.R. Ambedkar exhorted. Many more Indians will have to exercise these democratic rights if they wish to transform the profoundly damaging elitist character of Indian society and politics..."
John Dos Passos, 'U. S. A', 1930:
"....America our nation has been beaten by strangers who have turned our language inside out who have taken the clean words our fathers spoke and made them slimy and foul
their hired men sit on the judge’s bench they sit back with their feet on the tables under the dome of the State House they are ignorant of our beliefs they have the dollars the guns the armed forces the powerplants
they have built the electric chair and hired the executioner to throw the switch
all right we are two nations
America our nation has been beaten by strangers who have bought the laws and fenced off the meadows and cut down the woods for pulp and turned our pleasant cities into slums and sweated the wealth out of our people and when they want to they hire the executioner to throw the switch..."
Leader, Economic & Poltical Weekly, March 22 2014:
"...Sadly, this is not the age of independent journalists; it is the high noon of media corporations. The “Masked Ball of Democracy” toasts to the coming “free and fair elections” – “There is a magic to it that people in totalitarian states can never grasp”, the largest English-language newspaper pompously declares. The truth is that elections often go to the highest bidder, and this election may indeed bring a totalitarian party to power..."
Edward Luce, FT, 'America’s democracy is fit for the 1%', March 30 2014:
"...Should one person one vote be replaced by one dollar one vote? Most economists agree that the effects of technology and globalisation will result in even more inequality in the years ahead, perhaps spectacularly so. The only real countervailing force is politics.
It would be a tragedy for US democracy were its political system to act as a spur, rather than a check, on the extremes of our age."
India's federal elections will soon be upon us.
Artist: David Sipress, The New Yorker, September 2013