Final Word from Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Democracy is based on trust: Trust that the elections will not be rigged, that the results will be respected, and that the winners will fulfill their promises. The test of a healthy democracy is the degree to which these prerequisites are met and the trust is warranted. Even in advanced democracies that meet the first two requirements - elections are not rigged, and the results are respected - there are big deficits in terms of the third item. Politicians routinely make promises they don't intend to keep, but the voters pretend not to notice or vote the politicians out of office next time. Still, the system depends on accepting the promise of an elected official as being bona fide. Once the electorate starts doubting every promise, the democratic system is nearing a rupture. It's true that Miloš Zeman violated this inherent trust by using swear words on the radio, but he has indicated that it won't happen again. The democratic thing to do is to trust him to keep his promise next time. Especially at Christmas time, when we celebrate peace on earth and good will toward men. [Czech Republic Czech Radio Peter Duhan]

Glossary of difficult words

to rig (a contest) - to manage or conduct something fraudulently so as to produce a result or situation that is advantageous to a particular person;

prerequisite - a thing that is required as a prior condition for something else to happen or exist;

bona fide - genuine; real.

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