Edifying discussion with a school teacher...
We all have great moments of loneliness in life.It is a great effort for me to make the conversation to people that I don’t know, or whom I am not comfortable with. And what makes me even more uncomfortable is silence between these people and me. So usually I start babbling and I become unstoppable.
Sometime I listen to myself speaking and wish I could just stop and run away but instead I go on.
This is how I found myself talking about the sexual orgies of some Maharajas (that happened because I was reading a book about the same) to a rather traditional and conservative Indian elder man.
All that to get to my recent conversation with a 60 year old school teacher from Kerala. I, who can hardly make the difference between the left and the right-hand parties, I started talking about politics. I was telling crap but my interlocutress beat me big time:
- Me: Isn't the Indian electoral system a little bit similar to the United States’ one considering the two countries are State Unions?
- Her: Maybe a little bit but it has to be different since we are a democracy and they are capitalists.
- Me (horrified): Ok but democracy and capitalism are not opposite are they? One could rather oppose democracy and dictatorship don’t you think so? Dictatorships like in Africa or China.
- Her: Ah no, China is a democracy.
- Me (dumb-founded): Is it so? Did China political system changed recently? Because last I was told, economico-political theories comparing India and China stated that China had been developing much faster than India because (or thanks to) her authoritarian regime. But maybe you are right* …
Oh God, where is this country going??
But this is not finished!
Her brother-in-law (a respectable Supreme Court judge) enters the conversation:
- Him: By the way, is France a monarchy or a democracy??
- Me (well they are still a few monarchies in Europe so I won’t jump to the ceiling): Euh we abolished monarchy during the French Revolution.
- Him: And you won’t become a monarchy again?
- Me: Not that I know of…
* A Republic is not necessarily a democracy and vice-versa. If the two terms are close, they are not always identical. Thus, a Republic is not always a democracy. Today, the Chinese model is called "People's Republic of China" but it acts like a dictatorship: freedoms are limited, the communist power is authoritative. The Chinese president is appointed by the Communist party. There are elections in China, but it is to elect the 3,000 deputies of the Parliament who meet only once a year and has no power. On the other hand, a democracy is not always a Republic. England is a monarchy but the queen has only a honorary power, it is the British Prime Minister who governs with a Parliament elected by the universal direct suffrage. So the United Kingdom is both a monarchy and a democracy.