Metamorphosis of Democracy
By: REZA A.A Wattimena
There are two events that became a sign of growing democracy movement in Indonesia. The first was a peaceful anti-corruption demonstrations in several regions in Indonesia, with the exception of the conflict in Makassar. The second is the participation of hundreds of thousands of people to collect coins to assist Prita in relation to the demands of OMNI Hospital. This act of collecting coins is done by the public, and its almost touching the 200 million rupiah.
These two events are real forms of democratic metamorphosis. Metamorphosis of democracy, theoretically speaking, presupposes not only structural changes concerning democratic governance, such as periodic elections, but also changes in conception of human and citizen. The Indonesian people change and becoming more active citizens in political event. There also changes in sociological concept of Indonesia from passive community into more active political community.
The concept of citizenship, as part of political community, contained the human ability to become a free and rational political subject. By becoming citizens of a political community, people will actively engaged in social and political issue.
Politics of Apathy
Its been a long time since the public shows care about political issues. For many people in Indonesia, politics is a dirty thing. Many people, who previously fought bravely to change the corrupt social system, changed when he was involved in practical politics. Political positions that produce wealth and power erode their conscience. The people, which previously loved them, now hates them.
This situation makes people apathetic towards politics. They also distanced themselves from politics, and busy with personal matters. Public spaces become empty, since only a few people who care about political and social problems. While many others attempt to satisfy their barbaric personal interests.
But apathy could break. There are limit for indifference. Soon or later, the community will not stand anymore with the unjust behavior of political and business elites. Controversy concerning Prita have disturbed public conscience. They no longer silent, but began to shout to fulfill their desire, namely for good governance. Indonesian citizens began experiencing a metamorphosis from passive and apathetic citizens to become critical, active, and participative citizens in political matters.
Metamorphosis of democracy presupposes a change of human mentality. In the process, apathy, which had been so deeply embedded in society, began to erode.This happens because the growing tendencies of democratic awareness in education and public discourse. Various articles in media and public discussions have open the eyes of many people about what they should do to improve this nation. There should be no action, either by government or by business firms, who escaped the public eye.
Metamorphosis of Power
In the biological term, metamorphosis is a change in the physical form, because the growth of cells that are radically different. The same thing is happening now in Indonesian politics. Cell growth can be thought of as the growth of democratic groups in society who actively discuss and highlight the actions of government or business firms. In the process of growth, the different argumentation come together, and synthesize to become public opinion.
There are debates in public sphere. The most reasonable argument will prevail and gain public support. This is the dynamics of a healthy public space. Of course, there are power relations. But in today’s society, there is no single dominant power. The most powerful groups will keep checks and balances at each other movement, and therefore creating balances in society.
In a democratic society, the power remains. But all the big powers control each other, thereby creating a political synthesis, which is based on the interests of the people who can be rationally articulated, and the gain public approval based on the basic constitution of Indonesia. This is a democratic metamorphosis that taking place in Indonesia today.
Metamorphosis of Democracy
Today, many Indonesians becoming more active and critical in the political arena. But we also needed sociological metamorphosis, namely the change from apathetic community to the active and critical political community. Political community is not just a collection of human beings, but also a collection of memories that shape identity, and expectations about the common good.
Indonesia should not become merely a society, but also a political community. Hence, the metamorphosis of democracy should not be stopped. The process of metamorphosis will be more smoothly, if there are moment that can move people as citizens. So, the political moment must be created to encourage citizens to actively participate in political and social problems. Mass media and independent groups have a big role to create this kind of political moment .***