We Celebrate Change, and Then We Forget

The results are out, and the President-elect of the US, Mr. Joe Biden, is being hailed as ‘the agent of change’. It is being anticipated that the politics of prejudice that his predecessor practiced and propagated will now be replaced by inclusiveness and fairness. But is it not premature to think of such positive changes? True, Mr. Biden replaces a man who was not fit for the role but whether or not Mr. Biden is fit and competent can only be assessed during and after his stint as the US President, not today. The point is that Trump’s incompetence can be no validation of Biden’s competence.

The other protagonist of the story is the VP-elect, Ms. Kamala Harris. Her nomination as the party’s VP candidate and subsequent win can only be hailed as America’s success in being a land of opportunity for immigrants. That women are making a mark in US politics and a woman of colour can assume the VP office is also a conclusion that can be drawn. However, this does not and cannot allow analysts and commentators to prematurely and impulsively declare that the office of VP will now be run with utmost competence- it can be, but only time will tell.

It is not new that we celebrate change but then forget that we celebrated it as we believed it will make our lives better. The fall of dictators in some middle-east countries was initially hailed as a moment of change; however, what ensued were prolonged wars, bloodshed and political turmoil and instability. The so-called change only made matters worse for the very inhabitants who saw it as a positive event.

Many other countries also corroborate this point. Pakistan has been ruled by civilian governments as well as military ones, and every time there was a change, people anticipated good to happen to them. However, little progress could be made. Another instance is PM Modi’s emphatic win in 2014 general elections. Even his staunch critics would have, somewhere in their hearts, expected something good after the not-so-good UPA-2 stint. But what has followed is a theocratic style of governance that finds support in populist and majoritarian politics, thereby taking the limelight away from inclusive development and economic prosperity.

Now the same things are happening in the US. Undeniably, Biden’s campaign pitch was more inclusive and optimistic than Trump’s. Undeniably, Kamala Harris rise is extraordinary. But that does not automatically mean that the next 4 years of administration will be great and devoid of any policy failures. Indeed, Trump made mistakes, just like UPA-2 in India; however, the new administration in the US must be assessed on how they deliver on their promises. It is not only equality, but also foreign relations, economic growth and such other things on which the new administration must be assessed in future.

Only then we must celebrate the change. Otherwise, this premature hailing can lead to the new incumbents forget that more than the failures of past administration, it is their own new policies and approach that matters. And hence, let’s celebrate if you so want, but do not forget.

this nationalistic fervor is a rebalancing act, a reminiscent of nations’ failures

talks and acts of nationalistic blend are a common scene today. proponents are construing this as a valid and belated response to violation of interests of nation’s inhabitants and its sovereignty, while criticisers condemn this by categorizing it as infringement of right to trans-border movements.

did this happen all of a sudden? did the unexpected rise of politicians favouring inward policies was the sole factor that resulted in general populace connecting with nationalism?

let’s talk some rationales.

nations are separated by borders that are internationally recognized and respected, except a few territorial conflicts. why did countries form, why did people gather in settings that differentiated them from inhabitants of other nations?

borders bring with them many pluses. they allow a government to rule over a defined region without interferences from external forces, this promotes making laws and rules for fair conduct in the society.

most of the countries are endowed with resources that are enough for peaceful and thriving existence of citizens; those lacking resources turned into being singapore and switzerland, all backed by judicious decision-making of domestic leaders.

the rest was accomplished by globalization which enabled easy and fast movement of goods, services, capital and labour. this globalization, however, has now breached its justifiable threshold.

it is then upon individual nations to cater to the needs of their inhabitants, to exploit the resources available for the common good of all and to develop an environment of social and economic well-being.

it is this duty, when left unheeded and undelivered, that forced movement of citizens to other nations, in an exceedingly unjustified number that was counter-productive to rights of original inhabitants. similar to how we care for aboriginals and their rights over the land they have lived on and resources that they have used.

it is then not the newly elected president of the united states, donald trump, who stands liable for the present state of affairs in geopolitical landscape. he was elected democratically, on people’s will.

it is rather the failed governments of underdeveloped and developing countries that did not fulfil their task of assuring economic wellbeing of their citizens. had they been responsive to the needs of their people, migration would have been restricted to rational numbers.

the nationalistic fervor prevalent today is thus a rebalancing of past and present mistakes. this will not end with the outgoing of trump or anyone else, it will only recede post-correction of flaws.

individual nations have to start accepting liability to ably serve their citizens.

from ‘news’ to ‘fake news’

when donald trump targeted a cnn reporter saying that you represent ‘fake news’, not many media persons were amused. the fact is, why will they be? After all, they were a unified lot that worked to prevent trump from occupying the most powerful office in the world. many news outlets even explicitly endorsed hillary clinton in the 2016 presidential race.

but is this how media houses are expected to function?

‘news’, but where is it? today, we just watch and listen to analysis, debates, deliberations and like. just a few percentage is what that can be categorised as ‘news’.

so, they are not reporting news, they are, rather and sadly, making news, distorting truth, and serving the public with nothing more than insensible, and many a time, unsubstantiated, non-sense stories.

but why did this reach such heights? why did ‘sensationalism’ overshadow ‘genuine reporting’? there is no hard guessing, it’s the unprecedented rise in the number of media houses and the cut-throat competition that accompanied this development.

one is trying to portray itself as more sensational than the other, the other is competing with some other, and this vicious cycle of making news has led media houses to report ‘fake news’.

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