Participation in community or in social life for its good and welfare is not only the innate disposition but also the aspiration of every true citizen who is called to exercise freely and responsibly his/her civic role with and for others living “in the same boat” – so to speak. The said innate disposition is also one of the pillars of all democratic communities, one of the major guarantees of the permanence and vitality of democratic societies. Needless to say, the said thoughts forwards profound, substantial as well as practical agenda – such as the following – all in conjunction with democracy.
Whereas citizens are affected by the realities and events that take place in their own society, it stands to reason that they want to be involved in building it up, in caring for their common good and social welfare through their freely chosen lead-individuals in rendering effective public service and in thus building up the common good.
So is it that citizens should have not only the freedom but also the responsibility to act accordingly on matters that affect their own society such as the value of knowing the truth, feeling the impact of peace and the emergence of development. These are areas that their freely chosen public officials must be primarily be concerned and active about.
Every citizen has a civic role and duty – a community commitment – to fulfil in collaboration with others, the primary objective of which is to ascertain and affirm not only the stability but also the progress of their own community or society. This civil role and civic duty are complemented by the given tasks of their chosen public officials, leaders in government.
One essential element of democracy is the acknowledged and guaranteed freedom of the citizens to get involved in the running of society according to their preferential option of having government authorities who are ready and willing to attend to their legitimate demands and expectations. This is a right on the part of the citizens and a duty on the part of the said officials.
The “Principle of Participation” – observed well and faithfully – is not only a foundation of democracy but also a guarantee of democracy whose enemy is precisely the government taking over the proper and operative role of the citizens. This is neither unknown nor beyond the experience of the Filipinos with the mere mention of “Martial Law”.
After all the above significance and implications of democracy are noted, the following become rather clean and certain: that cheating in elections in so many ways and means are categorically in direct contradiction of democracy. In other words, those who cheat in any way plus all those who allow cheating through any means – all these are marked enemies of democracy. Although it is something cruel to think about and hence offensive to hear, it might be that bad if – in line with a Gospel event – big stones were tied on their necks and have them thrown into the sea. This is a cruel thought. But it simply pictures what bad candidates, what bad public officials deserve. The truth hurts. But true it remains.