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Friday, 15 August 2014

Two easy measures to dramatically improve the level of democracy in Slovenia

Slovenian democracy could seriously benefit from just two easy measures that every literate Slovenian can master in no time:

1. Promptly answer your emails.

When I send an email to my friend in England she answers within 24 hours. When I communicate with the Australian government, I receive at least an acknowledgement within 24 hours.

When I contact people in Slovenia, they don't answer. Or they do, but a few weeks later. Or perhaps a month or two later. Or never.

There are so few exceptions that they simply confirm the rule. But what kind of rule is this? Why don't they answer their email? Are they too busy? Are they perhaps trying to tell me that they can't be bothered? That I'm not important enough to deserve a prompt answer?

In a functioning democracy, all people are equal before the law. This rule is much more than just a rule. It is an attitude, a state of mind that should be adopted by every single Slovenian in our daily life. All people that I meet on the local bus, on highway, at work are equal. We are all equal. By answering emails promptly I show that I understand and apply this rule. That I truly believe in democracy.

2. Start using 'I' rather than 'we' in formal correspondence.

If you take a look at any formal letter from Slovenia, you will notice that the writer never takes direct responsibility for his or her own writing but always hides behind the collective 'we'.

'We would like to inform you', 'we believe', 'in our opinion', etc. Who is this 'we'? Why 'we'? It is understandable when the writer actually represents a group of people who all sign the letter. But when the writer is one and only and there is just one signature, the use of 'we' is questionable.

Is this the royal we, employed by persons of high office such as a monarch or pope? Or an attempt to sound like it? Or perhaps a sign of inferiority complex? Of a need to appear like a multitude rather than just one person?

Or is this perhaps a way to spread responsibility, to avoid accountability? If I say 'we would like to ask you' I am telling you that I am just a messenger and not the decision maker.

But when I sign a letter I have to stand by what I say. It is my responsibility to make sure that the details of my correspondence are correct. I take pride in issuing the letter and I take responsibility for its content.

Just a little shift from 'we' to 'I' could make a huge difference in everyone's minds. Why not try it? 

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