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A Troubled Democracy (Indonesia)

A Troubled Democracy (Indonesia)

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Published by Andika Putraditama
Op-Ed published in The Jakarta Post
Op-Ed published in The Jakarta Post

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Published by: Andika Putraditama on Dec 20, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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05/26/2014

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The Troubled Democracy
By: Andika Putraditama
 Three days ago there was something interesting on myFacebook news feed. I got a message from the
Facebook SiteGovernance
that asked me to join the group and cast my voteon the
Facebook Principles
and
Facebook Statement of Rightsand Responsibility 
documents.Apparently, the founder of this phenomenal social networkingsite thinks that the population of the
‘Facebook Nation’ 
hasgrown so big that it needs a more ‘open and transparent’governance.With the population of more than 200 million
netizen
worldwide,Facebook might become the fifth largest country in the world— just ahead Brazil. He believes that a community as large asFacebook now needs a voice in governance. To take a step closer to the Democratic State of Facebook (asI’m calling it now), Zuckerberg proposed a more democraticapproach to govern Facebook. He proposed two documents thatI mentioned earlier and let the
netizens
gave comments,recommendation and proposals to the original documents. Hethen made a new draft of the two documents and let us votes onthese soon-to-be ‘Facebook Constitution’.I really wished our democracy can be that simple and effective.But here’s a switch: we spend more and more money on thesystem, but we got nothing except violence, stagnancy andthose eye-poking posters of the candidates all over our streets. Ithink it is fair to say that those are the accurate snapshots of ourdemocracy practices today.Challenged by the present condition of our democracy, we mightwant to ask whether the current architecture of our democracy
 
is just hideous or is it something real that we can put our hopeon.Our current system of direct election seems to reduce thedominance of the
 power elite.
Today, everyone can join the hypeand be the candidates. Consequently, now we have legislativeelection candidates from literally any background—from aparking man to a media mogul. Even a criminal with writtenrecord of smuggling weeds joined the competition. If that doescount, then ‘various backgrounds’ will have a whole newmeaning for our democracy. Those might be a good example to show how the principle of universal coverage of democracy practiced in Indonesia, but thedownside of having too many doors open in our system is thatwe can no longer have a credible quality control to filters ourlegislative candidates.Many, if not
most 
, of the legislative candidates areinexperienced, lack of basic knowledge of legislature activities,or simply uneducated. Today, we have quite a number of candidates that comes from non-political background, includingthose who are still very young in age and many more areentertainers and comedians with no experience in politics.Sure they are full of ideals and fresh ideas, but real politic needsmore than just ideals and ideas. Our democracy should not bethis big and expensive joke like we saw in the last four months.What await them for the next four years is a noble yet delicateworks. It requires no less than adequate legal drafting ability, anunderstanding on how our political system works andcomprehensive understanding of issues that wait to be resolved.Will they be able to perform well within the next 4 years? I doubtit.

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