The Opposition

To oppose is to fulfill an important duty that is demanded in a democratic society; to offer an alternative view, argument or action to that which is proposed by the ruling party.This is what makes democracy an important tool in the people’s quest for progress for it gives space for creativity and intelligent ideas. In a room with ten people who are given a task to solve a problem, expect no good ideas to come out and fill up the room when nobody is allowed to talk, or when all other parameters like seniority, gender, beauty, social status and tradition, academic titles, etc. would rule other than sharp thinking and creative spontaneity. The outpouring of ideas can cause collisions among some of them ( hence democracy is loud from time to time). However, in such a group one can only show the best that one has  if given the chance to speak. This is the group dynamic inherent in a democratic society- it applies that healthy dosage of pressure to each allowing everybody in an atmosphere of freedom to function at his maximum.
This enhances growth as we can see in western countries that have already drawn huge benefits from democracy. Economy, Arts and Sciences flourish. Did the former Soviet Union, China or East Germany produce Nobel Laureates during the last two decades? Nobel Prizes in Sciences  practically went to the USA, West Germany, Switzerland, Japan. On the other side we have witnessed how totalitarian regimes literally deprived themselves of  progress as in the case of Eastern Germany after the annexation by Krutschev. The east Germans remained underdeveloped in many aspects in big contrast to their West German counterparts who benefited from socio-economic progress. ” I was practically switched-off growing up in such an atmosphere of control” said an (ex-east) German friend of mine, and  his colleague added, “I grew up in East Germany with only one thought in my head – to escape”.
 There is no progress when everybody thinks only of escape. Progress is there when people love to stay in their place, make the best out of what they have and continue working together in realizing their vision. One of the paradoxes of democracy is that it needs  opposition for it to survive, not just a friction-free working together where no critical thinking is allowed. There lies the beauty of the system. Like chess, the credit of the match does not go only to the winner but also  to the loser for he equally worked hard in opposing the moves of the latter thus co-producing in the end the beauty of the whole match. This is how I define political opposition. It is  a series of intelligent moves that force the ruling party to be careful and watch their actions and give out their best, whether they like it or not.
 Therefore, to oppose is to offer alternatives, not only criticize and offer nothing concrete. When the government falls to corruption, it also means that the opposition did not do their job well , for either they were not united among themselves or they also became corrupted. Here we are talking about opposition as a political party which performs  partly the check and balances function in a democracy. Hence, a good government owes a lot of its beauty and  good performance to an able opposition, just like our chess winner. Without opposition, a government is ugly, unsure of itself,  lacks a genuine legitimacy and that necessary pressure from the other side, thus it mostly retrogrades to tyranny and corruption.
Vladimir Kramnik used to be a student and chess training partner of the former world champion Kasparov. Later on he even defeated Kasparov himself and became world champion. The same is true with a good opposition, it may be the next government. Interestingly Kasparov has joined the Russian politics after he left the world of chess and is now in the opposition, no longer fighting against Vladimir Kramnik but against Vladimir Putin. It keeps me wondering if he is really several moves ahead of Putin.Would it come to a mate or a draw? In any case, to oppose means to be intelligent and offer good, if not, better alternatives if one  really wants to capture the king someday.
 No doubt, we have in Bulan very good chess players. But I doubt if there is a good opposition in the government, for if there were one, the present government administration have been a lot better. On the other hand, if the administration had systematically repressed the opposition, then it had voluntarily deprived itself of the positive use of a mirror, so no  wonder why this administration cannot see the scars on its face.
jun asuncion
Bulan Observer

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