‘As you are, you are ruled’

With the beginning of a new parliamentary term, fresh debates have arisen about new subjects, but the theme remains the same. It is almost always about 'grilling' that minister for deteriorating services during his tenure. MPs, on the other hand, are subject to accusations that they targeting ministers for personal reasons. Based on that, some MPs are accused for overusing their constitutional rights. All we hear about is threats issued here, accusations hurled there. Nothing in this country changes for th
e better, well almost nothing.

One doesn't have to be a sociologist to assess the situation. There is something wrong either with the system, or with the people who form a part of it. The outcome of 'democracy' should not be limited to screaming matches and marked by decline on all levels and fronts. So may I ask what is wrong?

If we blame the MPs for being unproductive, then we should consider the fact that even though three parliaments have been dissolved in the recent past, the 'crisis makers' as some put it, seem to return to the National Assembly. Their agenda is to fight "widespread corruption in ministries and government authorities," as is repeatedly claimed. ????

They appear to deliver the 'product' that their voters require, whether it is related to fighting corruption or crisis creation. Voters are satisfied with their performance, which is one of the reasons why they are drawn to them.
If the MPs who represent Kuwaiti people want to create crisis, then it reflects the Kuwaiti people's wishes. Just think about it. They know what these MPs are going to do while in Parliament. They have made a public declaration – grilling the minister! They have promised their voters just this. Besides, they have done it before. They do not take sudden, completely new decisions as soon as they ascend to the green chairs.

On the other hand, overlooking safety procedures and financial approval as an excuse for grilling has become standard practice in government bodies. 'Only those who don't work, don't make mistakes,' they say. So, since excuses will always be given, there'll always be a number of reasons to increase tension in the relations between the government and the National Assembly. Hence, we will always continue to face this political paralysis.

The only way to get out of this rather disturbing cul de sac is to understand that the ministers can only be as good as the employees who work at their ministries. On the other hand, MPs are only as good as the voters who elected them in office.

That brings the ball back to the court of the citizens who cast their votes based on sectarian, tribal, emotional, or even financial motives. It brings the responsibility back on to the citizens, who form most of the work force in government ministries and who, in turn, complain about failing to receive proper services in other ministries. They tend to ignore the obvious fact that if everyone were to do his job properly, better services would follow.

Democracy should not be bragged about. It is not a magic wand that can perfect everything forever. It is the responsibility that comes with any form of choice.
So, before we raise our hopes about what the government or the Parliament can do to make our lives better, we should ask ourselves: Have we carried out our responsibilities wisely? Before we point a finger out to blame anyone in the government or the Parliament, we should be aware that these two authorities are reflections of our state as a society. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said, "As you are, you are ruled.
 

 © Kuwait Times 2009

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