In all countries there is controversy regarding the “virus from Hell” which is killing many people and the economy of the World.
In all representative democracies, there are arguments regarding lockdowns. Most governments are for them, including the Swiss government.
It is possible that most people support lock downs. But we do not really know.
What is obvious is that in the argument for and against lock downs are heated. In some countries, like the US, those who support and those who oppose are at each others throats every day, and not just the politicians. It is as if people have lost the ability to disagree rationally; “my way or no way!”
But in representative democracies, the people can do nothing about lock down. They can argue, they can show, they can complain, but they can do nothing; if the government decides “lock down”, lock down it is, if the government decides “no lock down”, there is no lock down.
It does not matter if most of the people want lock down or do not want lock down. The government treats its adult citizens as children unable to make responsible decisions. The only “responsible” decision that in a representative democracy the citizens can make is…. you guessed it… elect the politicians!
It makes no sense that those elected consider that those who elect them are not mature or intelligent enough to decide on issues, it is absurd. Unfortunately, in representative democracies, too many people have bought that argument; it is time to discard it and take control.
Perhaps they do not know about direct democracy or about Swiss direct democracy.
In Switzerland, all you need is a tiny minority of 50 000 or 100 000 people, depending on the issue, to put it before the entire nation, and the nation decides, not the politicians.
These minorities represent 0.5% and 1% of the population, talk about giving an authentic voice to minorities, instead of hot air talk about minorities!
At the canton and local level, the figures are lower, but the people also call referendums.
In Switzerland, the results of all popular referendums are mandatory for governments.
Concerning the lock downs, a small group of Swiss citizens collected 86 000 signatures, 36 000 over the 50 000 required for this issue. They did it within the 100 days limit. A referendum will now take place, and the government can not stop it.
The referendum may be held in June 2021. The voters will decide if they want to repeal the law that gives the Swiss government the power to impose lock downs. The people will decide “lock downs” or “no lock downs”. Their decision will affect the current pandemic, but also have future issues.
One of the healthier effects of the referendum is that will settle lock down-no lock down. It will because is a fully democratic decision. No decision by the legislators or the executive can match the democratic quality of a decision made by the people, no ifs or buts.
In case you do not know, Switzerland is number one in many areas; one of them is political stability. Referendums, with the Swiss system, not the system most others follow to carry referendums, generate political stability and unify the country.
Perhaps one of the reasons is that the popular referendum takes the issue away from the politicians, the pundits, the media, etc. No more heated, emotional, aggressive, demagogical headlines. The way the Swiss system works, referendums are animated but calm and rational political activities.
Prior to referendum, so that they can vote informed, the people will receive dossiers from the government, arguing for the goodness of the lock down. But the government will also send to every household the information and the arguments of the people who propose the referendum.
Besides those positions, in the government package there will also be the position of the political parties on the issue.
Among themselves, at home, at work and with friends, the Swiss discuss the issue in the months, sometimes years, leading up to the referendum. They also listen to debates and to the opinions of experts on health, to economists, etc., who are for and against the lock downs.
The Swiss voters know they have a very serious responsibility. They know their decision will impact their own health, the health of their families, their jobs, their income, their education, etc. Because they know it is a serious issue, they are not interested in the political and media shenanigans we see in representative democracies, they want serious, credible information.
We know, from the many previous Swiss referendums, there will not be any of the radicalisation and polarisation we see in representative democracies, among which the US is perhaps the most extreme example. In the US it is ridiculous. It is ridiculous to the extreme positions dominating the debate; those supporting the lock downs consider those opposing them as crazy, the “compliment” is returned by those opposing the lock downs.
The mutual despise is also “adorned” with mutual accusations of “fascists!”, “socialists”, and worse sometimes.
In your country the situation many not be as polarised as in the US, or perhaps we just know more about the US.
The Swiss people took the opportunity of a previous pandemic in 1867 to bring to themselves the power politicians had before; they switched from representative democracy to direct democracy. They know both systems well; they have not looked back. This is why they are able to call this referendum.
I believe all representative democracies should push to get know what the Swiss fought for, peacefully, 154 years ago.
We better get going because representative democracy is deteriorating, and fast. So fast that many developing countries are starting to look at you know what totalitarian capitalist dictatorship, not too different from the Nazi one, as the model to follow.