Science being part of the Social Sciences, delves into the study of human
society and the individuals that comprise them. Throughout the whole history of
Political Science, there has been the constant drive to understand the behavior
of individuals in any political system. This pursuit was true during the
infancy of Political Science and it still is in 21st century. In fact,
many of the developments and advances in the field explore the role and impact
individuals as key actors in modern political systems. This further implies
that understanding modern political communities depend on the relationships,
tendencies, actions and psyche of the people which comprise them. This
therefore, the main thrust of the discipline in the modern age.
examination of status quo show that most political communities take on the structure
of democracies. This includes the state which the author is residing in. As a citizen
of the Philippines, the author acknowledges the fact that he resides and is
part of democratic state. What does this mean? To be able to answer this
question requires an answer to another question. That question is what is a
democracy? This simply means that it is both a system of government as well as
an ideology. As an ideology it states that the reigns of power are in the hands
of the people (Roskin et al., 2012; Segrillo, 2012; Nwogu, 2015). This means
that it is they who determine the fate of state as a whole.
As a system of
government it is one in which the people manage government as in the case of
the first Democracy, the City-State of Athens (Segrillo, 2012; Nwogu, 2015).
But over the years democracy evolved and took on many forms and variations. This
evolution is the product of the development of human society. As humanity
evolves, this also catalyzes the development of structures and constructs it
avail of. This includes democracy. This has led to the creation of many
variants of democracy. This is the case since democratic forms of government
are widely flexible and usually adapt to the needs and interests of the people
who embrace it.
The most widely
employed form of democracy is known as indirect or representative democracy.
This is primarily characterized by the existence of a government still ruled by
the people through chosen representatives. These individuals act as agents for
the people as a whole (Roskin et al., 2012; Segrillo, 2012; Nwogu, 2015). This
means that the people are still the sovereigns; the source of power. However,
they act through chosen leaders who they lend power to. Furthermore, this form
of democracy is also known for the unique feature of elections which is the
process by which the people decide who will manage government for them (Roskin
et al., 2012; Segrillo, 2012; Nwogu, 2015).
At the heart of
this form of democracy is the widely talked about concept of representation. This
idea lays the foundation for the relationship between the predominantly elected
leadership in government in a democratic state and the polity who the former
represents in public affairs (Roskin et al., 2012; Urbinati and Warren, 2008;
Adagbabiri and Chuks, 2015). This is a core aspect of this democracy. Members
of government serve as mere agents of the sources of sovereignty which is the
people of the state collectively. Moreover, these agents are chosen by the
people they represent via a system that is unique to indirect democracies. This
is known as elections or the electoral process.
The selection process
for the leadership leaders in a republican democracy is not without controversies,
issues, challenges and problems. In the unique Philippine setting, the
electoral system is confronted with a myriad of problems. One of this is the
weak and unstable political party system (Carlos, Ph. D., et al., 2010).
Instead of serving as enhancing institutions to the Philippine democracy, political
parties usually are relevant only during elections. They are also hotbeds of
“political turn-coats.”These are individuals who switch political parties when
it is convenient and advantageous towards their interests. Elections revolve
largely not on issues and discourse but on the politics of patronage wherein,
voters support and elect people who they think will be able to directly benefit
them such as financing them (Rood, 2016).
The existence of
a functioning democracy requires citizens who are rational and participative.
It also necessitates limits on powers and the protection of rights of the
people within that state (Roskin et al., 2012). This means that unlike other
forms of governments democracies require equal effort on the part of the ruled
as much as those who rule. The leadership by themselves can never fully realize
the attainment of a true and working democracy without partnership with the
electorate or their constituents.
another notable aspect vital in a democracy which is political maturity. This
concept pertains to a collection of characteristics of the electorate which
makes the functioning of a democracy easier. Some of these include possessing
certain values, beliefs, attitudes and behaviors when participating in a
democracy (Oakeshott, n.d.). A notable feature of political maturity is the
ability to make rational and sound decisions with regards to important social
and political issues as well as the selection of leaders who will serve as
representatives in government. However, the author notes that there is no
widely accepted and supported concept of political maturity that experts agree
In case of the
Philippines, it is said that the electorate suffers from lack of Political
maturity or political immaturity. There are many instances that illustrate this
fact. One need not look beyond elections specifically the 2013 elections to
find a multitude of examples for this (Tulfo, 2013). It is true that there are instances
that the results of certain elections for some parts of the country show
features of political maturity (Comanda, 2016). However, as a whole the electorate
in the Philippines is still not politically mature based on their behavior,
reasons for choosing which leaders should represent them and the standard
applied to such leaders (Opiniano, 2016).
But there is the
lack of material that explores the measurement of political maturity. Some
materials contend that it is related to an individual’s age (Bergh, 2013). Some
purport that it stems from access to information and the capacity to process the
information they access. (Hardi, 2016) In some instances political maturity
finds association with social awareness, active participation particularly in
discourse and public affairs (Lee, 2017). This implies that these attributes
exists in individuals who usually regularly engage in discourse, have a well formed
of opinion regarding issues, and at least a basic grasp of current the issues
in society. But despite all these there is no concrete and comprehensive system
used in gauging political maturity.
there are frameworks for the measurement of maturity of individuals based on
their mind set, motivation and behavior. One of the most widely adapted systems
is Lawrence Kohlberg’s Stages of Moral Development. Kohlberg stated that as an
individual grows up he or she progresses through the various stages of moral
development. Each stage also would outline attitudes and characteristics that
would likely be found in person who belongs to that stage (Sanders, n.d.). This
unique approach focuses on exploring the decision-making of individuals when
confronted by certain moral dilemmas (Fleming, 2005). This, in turn, would indicate
the stage they are in.
The author then
asks, should Political Science have and use similar framework or system that
can help gauge political maturity of individuals? It is clear that in Political
Science, there are no definite systems or frameworks that function to measure
the political maturity of individuals. The author finds such a research pursuit
not only fascinating but would serve as a valuable contribution to the field.
The author is of
the conviction that this particularly subject matter is one which is ripe for
study given the fact that there are glaring gaps in the material in the field with
regards to political maturity. This is because in choosing a subject for the
purpose of research always has the goal of filling the gaps in the field. This,
in turn, would expand the field and enhance it beyond its current state. In its
totality, it would provide a broader understanding of social phenomena and thus
provide society with information so that it can better deal with the said
phenomena (Neuman, 2014).
the author hopes that such a pursuit would provide a deeper understanding of
political maturity can assist the sectors and institutions in a democratic
society like the Philippines to help improve such maturity. More than such
advancement it would also provide valuable insight into the stance of
individuals in relation to certain social issues, the profile of future public
officials they would gravitate towards, their view of the state and their role
they play in it. In fact, the ability to gauge political maturity of
individuals would vastly improve many democracies that exist today since it
would provide members of those democracies with the information in fine tuning,
refining and polishing those democracies. After all democracies can function
more effectively if it is attuned, adjusted to the circumstances, molded to
meet the needs and conditions of the context in which it exists.