Opinion: It is all about democracy

Mirjam Mõttus.
Mirjam Mõttus. Source: Private collection

The Riigikogu coalition has led us back to a time when the word 'democracy' was not yet known in our land, writes ERR journalist Mirjam Mõttus.

On October 11, 1868, a 25-year-old Thomas Alva Edison (yes, the same Edison we are taught was the inventor of the light bulb) applied for his first patent in Boston. This was to be a voting apparatus to be used in Congress.

The device was supposed to facilitate a higher reliability of voting. A peoples' representative was to only press one or two buttons, and their vote would then have been registered.

The council chairman who Edison gave the device to for testing told the young scientist: "Young man! If there is an invention in the world that we here in Congress do not want, it is this one. One of the most effective weapons for a minority wishing to avoid bad laws going through is a permanent opposition to results. Your device renders that weapon harmless!"

Edison understood the accuracy of the statement, and did not want to use the patent any longer.

The Riigikogu's constitutional affairs committee has decided that the 9,400 amendments to the marriage referendum bill will not be discussed. Instead, the representatives who submitted obstructions will get a mere few minutes to introduce their amendments. This decision, however, also renders the opposition's most effective weapon in standing up against bad laws going through harmless.

Edison thought of a machine without which we could not imagine the work of a modern democratic parliament. I would add as a side note that farmers in Estonia had been emancipated, and received the right to buy land, just a dozen years before that. The word "democracy" was not known in our land back then.

While we have used smart machines for some time now, the Riigikogu's coalition has led us back to a time when the word "democracy" was not yet familiar in our land. It is not about what is voted for. It is about democracy. For myself, a child of Estonia, Estonia is my mother land and Estonian is my mother tongue - black soil, blue skies, and the people's aspiration toward light and purity: I protest!

I protest because our parliamentary envoys have already robbed us of our dignity and faith. Not all of it, but a good portion of it. I protest because now they wish to rob us of why we say we are a democratic and free country.


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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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