If the soul of the nation is the people, then the trust of the people is the key of government. Lose trust and you lose the nation's soul.
This morning's article is by Professor Jean-Pierre Lehman entitled "The rise of China and the fall of democracy". The main thrust of the article is the decline of trust in most western-inspired democracies.
I guess we in the western front celebrated the triumph of capitalism and democracy after the fall of Berlin in 1989 too early. It was a premature birth (of modern democracy) that is throwing up a lot of issues of late - some of which are even threatening its very foundation.
The end of history (of communism) - so preaches Francis Fukuyama - is definitely not the end of corrupt, distrustful, kleptocratic, populist, incompetent, plutocratic, greedy, self-enriching, dictatorial, egotistic and filthy mouth government.
Professor Lehman wrote: "Autocracies are run on fear. Democracies are held together by trust. And trust is in extremely short supply globally generally and in democracies particularly; not...because there is more trust in dictatorship, but...because trust is the glue of democracies."
And this glue is too diluted by self-perpetuation and self-profiting to be able to bind the democratic hope, vision and aspiration of the people together.
Lesson? One. And it is about the globalisation of rage (Pankaj Mishra). Just when we the hoi polloi thought it was save to go back into the waters, the late-20th century struck us with what some political commentators call the "great democratic tsunamis".
This democratic tsunamis came with much promises. It tore down military dictatorships in Latin America, it inspired the People Power Revolution in Asia, and in Africa, the late Nelson Mandela became the Western equivalent of the Statue of Liberty, huddling the masses together with rejuvenating hope.
Faith and freedom in the new democratic tide washed away all the bad memories of Hitler's Germany, Pol Pot's Cambodia, Marcos' Philippines, de Klerk's Apartheid South Africa, and its rippling aftermath even spurred on the Arab Spring.
But still waters also run deep. The democratic tsunamis also took with it the Prometheus' fire of democracy, that is, trust. It wrecked trust in its blinding broad sweep of rage and greed.
History is democracy's own damning advocate here with the transition of the revered Mandela to the disappointing Zuma, with the impeachment of former president Dilma Rousseff (Brazil), with the consolidation of power as her core leader President Xi, with the populist PM of India Narendra Modi, with the disgraced Park Geun Hye of South Korea, with the whitewashed hypocrisy of Najib, and with the smiling dictatorship of Putin and Erdogan.
In this laundry list of shame, I really don't know where to put a character like Duterte (who recently told the media that his god would crash the plane he is in if he doesn't stop swearing).
And here comes the baddest tsunamis of them all - Clinton and Trump. Tomorrow, we will know for sure who will lead the greatest democratic nation of all, that is, the frontrunner of liberty, equality and hope, the celebrated land of the free, and the veritable American Dream!
Alas, if the Founding Fathers were witnessing this, they would have gone back to tear up and redraft the Constitution papers wholesale. Something must have seriously been lost in translation over the succeeding presidential terms.
I guess the bane of democracy has always been the same, and it is the bane of human nature. In the same way that you can't dignify a crook with a shimmering cloak, you can't make a corrupt politician honest by hiding behind an ideological smoke.
When you throw light at darkness, darkness will go. Darkness and light cannot coexist. Likewise, if you have true democracy, where its noble and defensible principles are both the means as well as the end to one's motivation and actions, you cannot remain as you are - unscrupulous, unprincipled and underhanded - and hope that you can make an enduring difference.
In the end, democracy is just one of the tools of government. Use its noble principles for the good of the people and you will reap a harvest of real, positive changes. But use it to advance your own agenda at all costs, and you'll end up destroying both - democracy and yourself. Cheerz.