Something Old & Something New

Posted: May 7, 2014 by Arushi in Thoughts
Tags: , , ,

“There is nothing new under the Sun.”

I have no idea where I first heard this quote, but I think it was from Mike Ross’s grandmother in the show Suits. This quote has become a comfort blanket of sorts. Nothing is new, which means everything can be fixed. After all, the world is still standing.

That being said, it also makes me think that I need to know more about what has come before, and even what is happening now. Even if those things do not directly affect me.

In that vein, I read one of the most beautiful definitions of Democracy today in The New Yorker:

We received a letter from the Writers’ War Board the other day asking for a statement on “The Meaning of Democracy.” It presumably is our duty to comply with such a request, and it is certainly our pleasure.

Surely the Board knows what democracy is. It is the line that forms on the right. It is the don’t in don’t shove. It is the hole in the stuffed shirt through which the sawdust slowly trickles; it is the dent in the high hat. Democracy is the recurrent suspicion that more than half of the people are right more than half of the time. It is the feeling of privacy in the voting booths, the feeling of communion in the libraries, the feeling of vitality everywhere. Democracy is a letter to the editor. Democracy is the score at the beginning of the ninth. It is an idea which hasn’t been disproved yet, a song the words of which have not gone bad. It’s the mustard on the hot dog and the cream in the rationed coffee. Democracy is a request from a War Board, in the middle of a morning in the middle of a war, wanting to know what democracy is.

E. B. White

I think my favorite line here is “a song the words of which have not gone bad,” because it still holds true. This piece was published on July 3rd 1943, and it is still relevant. I say it in keeping with the fact that General Elections are currently on in India, the world’s biggest democracy. And we’re working very hard to make sure that they’re fair and as many people as possible participate. In a country where it is now an ‘in’ thing to put up the picture of your finger with the ink that proves you’ve voted on it, it is also important for us to understand just how much power that bestows upon us.

We’re lucky to be in a world where while nothing may be new, we’re at least trying to improve on what exists and make sure that we all get an equal piece of the sunlight.

In that vein, again in The New Yorker, read an article about Thokozile Matilda Masipa. Interested in knowing more, I googled her and everything I read increased my respect for her. I tried to see if I could get her email ID. So I could tell her that the way she has lived her life is truly inspiring. It is not just about her decisions as a Judge, or about her struggle as a journalist, is also about why she did those things and how she did them. It is about her being who she is and that I believe she is flat out a credit to humanity. 

To know that people like her exist, is a very good feeling. Because at the end of the day, I want to live in a world where I know that there are good people. People willing to not just stand up for themselves, but also for others. And reading about her makes me think that maybe someday soon, there will be even more people like her. We are so used to taking, that the very thought of someone who has given so much to the world around her, is totally, completely and absolutely uplifting.

Since I have no other way to contact Judge Masipa, I will give her my message her and hope that someday it reaches her. Thank you for being you.

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