(This first appeared in the Sunday Guardian)
As we head into dystopian times at warp speed, it seems refreshing to hear news about a country trying to make its government a little more democratic. Who wouldn’t like to see the human race take another small step in the right direction? But when we heard that our old friend Nepal was trying to elect a constituent assembly, we were very disappointed. If they needed something, they could’ve asked us. We’re always been eager to help our neighbours. In fact, we go out of our way and do things that inconvenience us just to take care of them. So if the good people of Nepal needed a constitution, they could’ve just borrowed ours. We aren’t using ours much these days anyway! And if some people have their way, we won’t need it at all after next year. But, okay. We get it. They needed to do this for themselves. Find out who they are. Even though they tried it on their own without our guidance a few years ago and it didn’t work. Maybe this time it will?
Although, in our humble opinion the smart thing to do would be to wait for a few months and vote in the upcoming elections in India, but, for some reason, the people of Nepal don’t want to subscribe to the Indian democracy project. Their snub is not going to ruin our buzz! We have nothing to say to them. They should know that we didn’t grow all this grey hair standing in the sun all day. It came from experience as well as a botched up dye job.
For your information, people of Nepal, our country has had at least the pretence of democracy for about sixty seven years now. We’re the leading democracy in South Asia! Sure, that’s like being the fourth musketeer or the vanilla extract in chocolate cake. Maybe some of us like vanilla! It might not have the flash of strawberry or posses the good fortune of tasting better than its individual ingredients like pistachio, but it does its job, even though it tastes like something an old, efficient Soviet-era bureaucrat might come up with. If you think so badly of our favourite flavour, then we probably did the right thing by not bringing over the generous helping we had earmarked for you. You can thank your harsh attitude for missing out on such a delicious treat. We’re going to mix your former share of our home made vanilla ice-cream with bourbon, sit by the fireplace and talk amongst ourselves about how you betrayed us. I hope you realize what you’ve lost! In fact, we had imagined that we’d even try to help you with tricks and life hacks on how to run things. Now, however, we’re just going to gloat about why we’re much better at democracy than you ever will be.
For starters, most of your political parties don’t even have a high command. You amateurs are hilarious! You see, it doesn’t matter who the people elect. The most important vote belongs to the undisputed leader of the party. We should have known how bad at this you were when you jettisoned the dynasty that has ruled you for so many decades. Who does that? Not someone who’s good at democracy! No siree, Bob!
The majority of the candidates standing in your elections don’t even have criminal cases against them. You didn’t even allow criminals to contest the elections. What sort of screwed up operation are you guys running? It’s important to elect murderers, rapists, psychopaths, conmen, busybodies, kidnappers, drug dealers, tax dodgers, smugglers of illicit materials and other valued members of society to various legislative bodies so that you know where they are all the time, in case you want to arrest and/or felicitate them.
Which is why it is also important to have a criminal investigative agency whose primary purpose is to be used as political leverage. Do any of you even know what clean chits are? This is why none of your coalition governments are stable. As you must have gathered by now, voting in an election is choosing the option that would do the least harm to the country. You should have a whole smorgasbord of bad choices! As a matter of fact, in most cases, if you’re stuck, you’re supposed to just vote for the person who belongs to the community you most identify with. So what if they’re an incompetent thief? They’re your thief! Even if they don’t do anything for you, at least they’re keeping those people away from the spoils of power.
How dare you involve your maoists in the constitution writing process? That’s not the right way to solve your insurgency problems. Let them stay in the forest so that you can keep bombing them. And what sort of maoists willingly participate in the electoral process? Have they no shame? I thought their lot in life was to overthrow the state, not play a role in strengthening fledging democratic institutions. Has palling around with China taught them nothing? Though them being bitter about losing the elections and threatening to take their ball and go home might just save your infant democracy.
The people in your country also need to get a hobby because approximately seventy percent of them showed up to vote in the elections. Just because you care enough about the future of your country to engage in one of your most important civic duties doesn’t mean you’re so special. No matter what your politicians promise you, nothing is ever going to change. Things are only going to get worse. Therefore, why even bother voting? Plus, voting day is a great time to catch up on other things. It is basically an extra day off! You can use it to finish all your pending errands, catch up with people you haven’t met in ten years, go for a picnic with your family, get your accident prone child a tetanus shot, update your status on Facebook to show your disillusionment with the electoral process, file your taxes. There is so much to do!
Look, I know all this talk about how awesome our democracy is must make all of you very jealous, so I’ll put you out of your misery and stop talking about it now.
But if you ever need any pointers, you know where to find us.