Our democracy is not only majority rule, but also the rule of law with individual rights and limits on power.
In parliamentary democracies, government headed by a prime minister and his/her cabinet, must enjoy the confidence of parliament, while a president or king acts as the ceremonial head of state. Democracies, like our neighbours to the south, the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, have chosen an intermediate system. The prime minister and his cabinet are responsible for the day-to-day administration of government through the ministries. However, the presidency holds the position of head of state, and has the power to nominate the prime minister, veto legislation and make or approve particular judicial and governmental appointments. This intermediate system, partially dividing executive authority, helps to curb and prevent the abuse of power.
Comforted that democracy is defined as a system of rule by laws, not individuals -- that the rule of law protects the rights of citizens, maintains order, and limits the power of government – that all citizens are equal under the law – that no one may be discriminated against on the basis of their race, religion, ethnic group, or gender -- that no one may be arrested, imprisoned, or exiled arbitrarily -- that no one may be denied their freedom without a fair and public hearing by an impartial court and that no one may be taxed or prosecuted except by a law established in advance, we at times have surrendered “Our country, Our democracy” to the fury of divine spirits that may have turned against us.
Those spirits take over the mind and good sense of men, and “turn thought to foolishness,” so that they know nothing of their mistakes and thoughtlessness. They “swim hopelessly against the stressful tide of necessity, eventually tire, and drift away oblivious of the dire consequences.”
The course of events, inevitable and unchangeable by anger or frustration, they seem unable or unprepared to turn them to the best advantage and recognize that cleverness is not wisdom.
We take for granted (sometimes with a pinch of salt?) that no one is above the law, not even a king or an elected president, and that the law is impartially and without fail, enforced by independent courts -- not influenced by other branches of government.
We hold that in “Our Country, Our Democracy,” persons accused of an offence have the right to know the charges against them, to remain silent, to have legal representation, to participate in their defense, and to question witnesses, but we stand by and let manic egotistical people craft flawed laws and invoke the false and baseless “Doctrine of Necessity” to opportunistically serve their narrow purpose.
They forget conveniently that, “Government in a democracy is the servant of the People; it is not their master” -- that those who govern are public servants and hold public office only to serve the People, not to serve themselves, and that “The People” are the highest political authority in a democracy; the ultimate rulers.
It must follow that all citizens ought, without exception, to obey laws made by a legislature because “We the People” have authorized the legislature to do so, not because the state, of which it is a part, is the source of authority.