Well if thought, what this title has to do with the world of business or even individual empowerment, think again! At the end of it all of us, each one of us come from the same social set, whether we choose a private job, run for government employment or wear uniforms or perhaps lead the nation as policy and public matters, end of it all, things will eventually come back to a singular truth, which is not about how strong the government has been, but rather how weak an opposition we have earned! Join me here, we we take a look to decipher this dynamic, see how it can empower and perhaps how things can go wrong and what is that you and I can do in our limited way to adopt and practise a way of life which enables us to create a dynamic equilibrium for all engagement points within the society that we live! So here we go!
Masters and specialists of the political world have always thrived and furthered one singular goal- the never ending desire to hold power to never relinquish it! The bygone age of Kingdoms and Empires- almost always ensured smooth transition within dynastic rulers always survived irrespective of the cost at what it came. This lunatic obsession of blood lines leading the future of empires and kingdoms coupled with the diminishing incompetence and rising impatience within the ruled areas- created a prudent environment either for bringing in a radical change of governance models- from a Crown led- autocracy to People led democracy- which again could have multiple variations based on what the thirst for power and control is! Needless to say you always have the element where the uniform too wants to be part of the hustle- simply because either they don’t really have something to defend and fight against or perhaps because their approach and orientation is in that way- because someone wants it that way!
Irrespective what the reason is and what the variation is, the fundamental goal of any government or governing body is always about control and power! There is nothing to complain about this, why would you, I mean who would want their nation’s government to be weak and submissive, end of the day every member of a given society thrives on a sense of national pride, no matter how big or small your nation is! This is what makes the pursuit for power and control so intoxicating and endless. This is the space where everything right or wrong begins to emerge and when it pertains to the matters of a government, it all depends on which side of an invisible social divide you are viewing it from! If you observe close and long enough more often then not, what unfolds- irrespective of who rules or governs is the debate and competition on whose approach to things (read ideologies) is better even as the end result that is always aspired remains the same- seeking national interest!
The only way to tackle, deal with and engage with a government is by having a potent opposition which can discuss, deliberate and audit the progress being made or not as promised by the government of the day! Sure enough, the government will do what it can and always will- deflect questions on what it has not done and seek attention only to what it has done, unless the opposition is not coherent, congruent and focussed enough, sieving through this maze of conflicting narratives shared by a ruling government can be simply overwhelming and many a times weakened opposition succumb to this, resulting in further weakening and erosion of meaningful presence to even engage with a government, let along debate or audit! You see the real problem with any nation is not that it has a strong government, but rather a fragmented and perhaps weakened opposition. This, is not only the cause of worry for the people but ironically enough enough a problem for the government! Let me explain!
For a government to stay strong is needs two basic things, one an intrinsic strength and sense of direction through policy and action and secondly- perhaps the most important one- a competitive, focussed and constructive opposition which has an adequate representation to ensure meaningful and directed debate and audit around what the government does or not! When this opposition is missing, the government ends up being lost under its own spot light, unable to see it’s own shadows, which a working and focussed opposition can do it with much ease and partner towards ironing out finer aspects of what’s not working and make better what’s working! When the opposition goes missing, with it the government ends up having to do double the work- first carry on the works that it needs to and then, because the opposition is nonfunctional- also get into the space of introspection and self-critique to find out yet better ways and means of working and serving the society! This is where the major problems begin to occur! The government not only ends up doing it’s bit but also begins to take up the responsibilities of the opposition- not because it wants to – but perhaps because there is no real meaningful choice left to engage and deal with in a constructive manner! This is why when a strong government faces a weakened or fragmented opposition, it ends up having to do two jobs, one that it does and the other which the opposition doesn’t!
But why is this bad, well simply put, as long as the purpose and chosen direction of a powerful government aligns to the greater good, fosters humanity and gives common-sense a chance- everything will be just fine, the moment experimentation begins to border on unwarranted risks and respect given is misread as a license to start bullying everyone and anyone around- chaos is slowly but surely unleashed! This also then, is a factor of how weak really the opposition has got, because beyond a point you and I as members of the society will not give a damn to an opposition which has lost it’s relevance political or otherwise! Once this stage is reached and if the government decides to behave like a run away train, you have only one option, either be on that train or get out of the way- nothing and no one will be able to stop it! An opposition that is considerably weakened, at the best is given some compensatory presence by government giving attention now and then, just to have the record maintained that there is an opposition (at least on paper if not in spirit).
A weakened opposition not only fails to hold the government of the day accountable but also fails to draw attention to things that are important and this fleeting loss of focus and action goes on to further compound the problem of an already diminishing opposition. It is not always about the opposition being right or the government being wrong, it is also about being able to deliberate and debate with intent focus and direction on things that matter, which is essentially all but lost. With a weak opposition any discussion just goes on to solicit academic value more then any meaningful political or social engagement or drive! So, by now you may want to ask, how does all of this matter you and me and why should you care for it? Well read on!
Just as a strong and functional government is vital for the progress of any society, equally importance is the presence of a thriving and active opposition. An opposition which has the requisite numbers and more importantly a plan to ensure that the government of the day adheres to what it must and conform to the broader outlines of what the society stands for, beyond these fundamental spaces everything else can be negotiated, constructed and build upon – for that is the real essence of democracy- the rule of the people! A collaborative space of engagement and debate with intent and purpose is critical and essential for any government to perform irrespective of how strong it is; a measured and calibrated opposition is also necessary and important!
If you thought this is limited only to the space of politics, well, think again! If you see what unfolds in the corporate offices you will perhaps know what I mean here. You see the social construct remains the same, irrespective of what vocation we choose and once you have succumbed to the concept of consolidation of power in a unipolar manner in any one segment of the society, sooner or later that will transpire and be witnessed the way society conducts itself across all the other facets that go one to make it! Observe the business leaders around, see the sector leaders around you will be then able to relate how unipolar consolidation of power is so infectious , dangerous and a matter of concern- especially when you have the problem of diminishing incompetence looming over the horizon!
Well there is nothing right and wrong as I said earlier, the important point here is that skewed consolidation of power any side of a line should have any progressive society worried and alarmed for sooner or later as the power intoxicated government begins to erode, most of the times it doesn’t make a pretty picture and when power is given away reluctantly, well we have seen enough examples across the world what unfolds and how the new chapters begin to get re-written!
I leave you with these thoughts for now, take your time off and do reflect! Life is beautiful when there is a dynamic equilibrium and a reversible equilibrium within the spaces of power and control, whether you want to lead a society, an organization or yourself- try too hard one or the other- sooner or later- failure alone will be your enduring legacy!
Ciao for now, will be back soon with another one! Until the stay safe sand stay wise!
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