In Jordan, politics started to resemble McCarthy’s era, a development that one fears and despises. A blame game between the government and the opposition is dominant these days.
Senior state officials do not believe in pluralism. They erroneously consider anyone who disagrees with them over the content of the package of reform as playing into the hands of the Islamists.
Implicit in this logic is that Jordanian politics is a function of the state-Islamists duality. This is, to say the least, misleading.
Jordan is not just about the state and Islamists; other players, established or emerging, have to play an influential political role in years to come. Therefore, the state propaganda that aims to scare off people about a possible Islamist takeover should not be seen more than a scarecrow.
Here, it seems to me, lies the crux of the matter. The state uses the Islamic scarecrow to justify the lack of political will for genuine reform.
The King’s vision of a democratic Jordan was spelled out clearly in a recent interview with CBS. Given the realisation of the deficiencies and imperfection of Jordanian politics, the King talked about the ultimate goal of his reformist vision: forming parliamentarian governments.
For the King’s vision to materialise, there should be politicians at the helm who concur with and believe in his vision.
Unfortunately, senior officials seem to be working at cross-purpose with the King’s declared vision.
The government, the Parliament and the security apparatus ganged up against genuine reform, rendering the process unattractive. If anything, they exploit the Islamists’ rigid position to exclude people from wider and meaningful political participation.
Jordan has come a long way since the advent of the Arab Spring. Some progress has been made. And yet, the final mile is perhaps the most difficult.
The last thing Jordan needs these days is an exclusive approach, which is, unfortunately, being pursued by the current government.
Worse, still, is the surge of societal violence that we witnessed recently.
There are those who argue that the level of violence has been manufactured to help the state in its exclusive approach. The running theme among those claiming that is that the state hopes the people will be calling for a tough security approach.
Because of the surge in societal and tribal violence, many people have begun worrying about their safety, as an increasing number of people seem to stop respecting the rule of law and institutions. If the situation continues unchecked, this will set in motion a process of destruction that will affect all the country.
It is irritating to hear these days people degrading the status of state institutions. A key reason for this is the failure of the state to implement the law.
However, implementation of the law should not be at the expense of reform. The two issues are not mutually exclusive.
On the whole, Jordanians can do much better and it seems that the failure is by design.
(This article was first published in the Jordan Times on August 14, 2012.)