The majority of us will never hold public office or lead the country or head a government ministry. We know the challenges faced by those who do are often great. But that doesn’t mean we must sit down and shut up in the arena of public discourse.
There are those who say that unless you can tell how to solve the problem at hand, you have no right to criticize. That would mean that most of us wouldn’t be able to say anything about the outbreak of infection in health care facilities or fires at open garbage dumps or the emptying of untreated sewage into our waterways. The thing is, we see and feel the effects of these things and as citizens in a democracy we have the right (the duty?) to speak out and ask questions; the right to indicate that we are not happy – are very distressed, actually – with what is happening.
We have a right to ask questions, to expect answers, to be told what happened, what went wrong and what is being done to correct the problem and prevent reoccurrences. We should expect journalists to have more than 5 minutes of answers. We should expect access to information contained in audits done of our health facilities. These are hardly unreasonable expectations.
We are the unelected majority, who have every right to ask questions of the elected minority and our public servants. And every right to expect forthright, accurate, comprehensive and timely answers.