Constitutional theory assumes that all people are essentially the same person. It presumes an autonomous person as the basis of state-action as the legitimate expression of popular will. Perhaps, I should pause here and loosely define Constitutional theory.
David Strauss says it really tries to draw upon bases of agreement that exist in a legal culture, and it extends these agreed upon principles to resolve more controversial issues. So in essence, it describes and prescribes what is morally right, when addressing matters that are perceived to be controversial. So it almost assumes that what is best for one is best for the next.
This brings us to this: difference, or a deviation from what is accepted status quo, can be assumed to be controversial. In this sense, the Constitution, as it is set out, and as her provisions are interpreted assumes that I will be the same if not very similar to the next person.
Being the supreme law in the country, it precursors a lot of other structural set ups, including political parties’ manifestos and guiding principles. As it is unspecific to the point of even being oblique, in various sections, leading to a constant need for clarification, as a result, a lot of policies, including the so worshipped Vision 2036 too, are broad and sweeping with little intentional directed interventions.
As a result, a lot of politicians will make broad promises, usually without heeding or even considering the needs of the people. I often hear the phrase, “something has to be done” when various politicians speak. This is often a jawbreaker, to silence pressure groups, because at some point, it seems, we became collectively content with something “being said”. But really real action requires deliberate considerations of actionable points.
It’s very important to advocate for the presence of various persons in Parliament, because as has been established, very little of substance about any community can fully positively impact such community, if the decisions made are done in the absence of representation of members of such community. However we know, from very recent experience that this does not guarantee the representation of the views and concerns of all of us, the multitudes. This is despite the fact that we, the people place our leaders in the positions they are in. It appears we forget that, as much as they do. As a result, nobody even bothers to actually court us. The comforting words are usually, “well you can’t make everyone happy”. Where this may be accurate, it is important to note that the government and therefore any political party aspiring to be in leadership of the country, needs to prioritise consideration of the
There are obviously a lot of matters of national concern. Many are urgent. Some have been ongoing since 1966 and have become part of the fabric of our country, but need to be weeded out, either way. But our politicians have to feel the pulse, and not only act on it, short term to elicit votes, but to also build sustainable solutions to various problems.
The problem with sweeping statements made in speeches and undertakings and policies and, that are usually vague, is that a lot is assumed from them, which is not expressly ascertained. They miss specific analysis of problems, and variant views of communities. I really believe in the power of the people as is suggested by the various constructs of “democracy”.
I am realising however, as have others, that often when there are varying positions and opinions, authoritarianism is reverted to. This leaves out our voices. And that is the problem. Our leaders really love us in the 12months leading up to elections. Only we can insist on change in this regard. Only we can demand continued and sustainable relationships and consultation. We are, all of us, constantly developing, and changing. It is up to us, to insist that we are, each of us, heard, and seen to the best of our abilities. We need to insist on clear and open communication lines with our leaders, through which our insistences and priorities might be heard. I have heard it said that the most successful relationships are premised on trust and communication. Our leaders actually need us as much as we need them. We have to both wake up to this. It is leaders duty to ensure that their communities are satisfied by their leadership.
Here’s the reality, as I see it, we are not homogenous. Not the women. Not the men. Not the gender fluid. Not the intersex persons. Nobody ever is, really. Our priorities, politics and beliefs differ, as do our identities and principles. This translates, of course, to the differences even in our expectations. This is why pluralism is so important in a democratic state. It accords the opportunity for divergent viewpoints to be represented and perhaps even heard.