Some pundits argue that after the revolution things will be just as bad. It will just be replaced with another bad leadership. While I agree that there is a big chance that there will be a leadership vacuum or power struggle hampering any progress, I disagree that it is a given. I have personally witnessed how jubilation could give way to realization that there is no miracle worker to fix so many ills from years of abuses under dictatorship. Then you get same old politicians carrying on their corrupt ways. But let history be our lessons.
To ensure success beyond revolution stage, the spirit of the protest should be carried on. It is nice to see people of all income level and different background all coming together and helping each other. People with breads offering them freely to other people. People offering water and looking after those who have fallen ill at the protest. Christian and Muslim helping each other in contrast to extremist organization bombing Christian Church trying to stoke the primitive instinct in human – blind hatred and ethnic division. Those who hold such primitive views should not be given a place in the government. Those who like to stoke hatred and violence should be shunned.I am continually amazed at the perseverance of the Egyptian people in overcoming everything Mubarak throws at them. There is a sudden mysterious disappearance of all police officers followed by what seems to be organized chaos of looting and violence. The people were quick to react, forming neighborhood watch. They then exposed the true identity of the looters, who possess I.D. of the much hated interior ministry. I guess you can call that an epic fail on Mubarak’s part.
What is so positive about Tunisia and Egypt is people are not easily fooled. Tunisia’s president went into exile but left his man in charged. Tunisian will have none of that and continued to protest. Both country saw youth spontaneously organizing using social network. The established opposition played catchup afterward. It should stay that way and they should not now possess majority of powers just because they have an established organization in place.
There are already different types of democratic form of government in place. It does not mean the new democracies should just adopt a system from one of the existing one. Two main ingredients will be essential to a successful post-revolution system of democratic government, which will preserve what the people fought for. Those two are:
1. A system of government with checks and balances that does not necessitate having a demarcation line of pitting one party against the other. What end up happening is endless grab for power and undermining one another. Instead we need a democratic government based on collaboration and compromise. Each representative acting as real spokesperson and leader of his local constituents. His/Her loyalty is to the local people he/she is representing. The technology is there also to establish a system of Open Government. Where NO government’s transaction and records (except for few really justifiable one) should be behind closed door and out of reach and sight of the people. Government that will introduced other forms of authoritarianism (including religious authoritarianism) should be shut out.
2. The second important ingredient for success is voter’s education. As a case study, let’s look at Philippines. After the people power, a housewife – wife of a promising assassinated opposition leader – was forced into the centre stage. She became the President. In a system that have become so corrupted from 20 years of dictatorship, she alone stand as incorruptible. Even former rebels and opposition who have now been elected to government offices have also become corrupted. Police and military remains incompetent and corrupt. Local government officials and governor still act like warlords assassinating with impunity any possible contender. And yet people still easily get sweet talked and bought (a lot of cases financially) into voting for them comes election time. Even in countries with long tradition of democracy, people are left feeling helpless and forced to choose from “the lesser of evils”. They are also often tempted with pork barrel in times of election.
So for voter education, a curriculum could be added to the senior secondary level right before the voting age. It would teach voter how to detect frauds and how to think critically and independently. Not jumping to conclusion and easily believing gossips. Not to get caught up in emotion without thinking rationally. Not to let emotions, specifically hate and fear, dictate and influence their decisions. To learn to reject incitement of division, hate and violence. And with the assistance of Open Government system, learn to detect corruption, conflict of interest, inefficiency unworthy of high standard of public office, and deceptive practices such as taking things out of context and spreading misleading information.
With those two ingredients in place, they will have a better democracy that will surpass even the long established democratic institutions.