viernes, 1 de noviembre de 2013

Politics, Latin Style

Should societies be allowed to roam the land freely? Furthermore, would that be a society at all?

Lately, Latin America has seen many news breaks involving high rank politicians and showing them in attitudes less than desirable for people of their social stature and standing. 

So, I know many do not really like politicians, or politics itself for all that matters. Politics is, ideally, supposed to stand for good government and leading the society. But so many scandals and bad news filling up the televisions and taking over the headlines do not help the tarnished image that politicians in general hold.

Notwithstanding the latter, politics is a reality of human life, and as such it must be understood in order to gain a full understanding of what living in these times is really like. 

What makes politics so controversial and a topic of so much, often heated, discussion is that it basks on democracy, now understood as the government of people for people by people, paraphrasing US President Abraham Lincoln. 

Ironically, it is democracy itself that allows for, and fosters, popular revolts and either unfading love or utter despise of a candidate or politician. To grant so much power unto one or a body has forever proven to be wrong. But then, if not like that, then how? How to best organize any societal body, if not through laws and institutions to enforce them? And if said institutions are to exist, how to best select the individuals who will be at their helm?

This is what has transpired in Latin America. The exercise of democracy and its ails has brought the continent to some of its darkest days. One needs only look at Venezuela, Costa Rica, Argentina and Colombia to grasp the situation properly. 

All this raises the question of the convenience of politics and all that it entails. Should societies be allowed to roam the land freely? Furthermore, would that be a society at all? 

The cases for both yes and no on this question have already been presented at length, so there is no need for us to repeat them here. Yet we do live in a society today, which functions by rules and regulations, much like those of olden days. Why, one might then ask, are there so many popular demonstrations and unrest in so many parts of the world?

The answer is simple: that is the very exercise of modern politics. 

In Latin America it is no different than it is in the Arab World, which has given us the Arab Spring. We have been less violent and radical, true. But no less discontent. 

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